FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — A Walmart employee shot a customer multiple times in Lauderdale Lakes Tuesday afternoon after the customer intervened during his “physical encounter” with a female coworker, the Broward Sheriff’s Office said Wednesday.
The customer died of his injuries.
Tironie Shavar Sterling, 22, of Lauderhill, now faces charges of first-degree murder and armed robbery by sudden snatching, the Sheriff’s Office said in a media release.
Sterling was not working at the time but had arrived at the store early Tuesday afternoon to meet with the female employee, the release said. They began to argue, which escalated into a “physical encounter.” While they were arguing, Sterling dropped his gun on the floor and tried to steal her cellphone, the Sheriff’s Office said.
The release did not say whether the two were in a relationship.
As their fight intensified, the customer came over to try to help the woman. He and Sterling started fighting, and the suspect grabbed his gun from the floor and shot the customer multiple times, before fleeing the store on a scooter, BSO said.
The customer was airlifted to a local hospital and died later that night. He was in his 30s, according to Broward Sheriff’s Office Fire Rescue Battalion Chief Michael Kane.
The identities of the female employee and the customer are being withheld under Marsy’s Law, a voter-approved constitutional amendment that allows crime victims to shield their identifying information from the public.
City officials said in a tweet that the store will remain closed until further notice.
“Senseless violence like this is intolerable, and we’re heartbroken to learn a customer has been critically injured while helping one of our associates,” the Walmart spokesperson wrote in a statement on Tuesday. “Our thoughts are with him, his family and our associates at this time. The store will remain closed while we continue working with law enforcement.”
Deputies arrested Sterling about 5 p.m. Tuesday. He is being held at Broward County Main Jail pending bond.
“I don’t think this situation is, unfortunately, terribly unique,” Carey Codd, a Broward Sheriff’s Office spokesperson, said at a news conference Tuesday after the shooting. “These types of situations can happen anywhere.”
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