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Convenience Store Owner Who Shot & Killed Robber Gets 8 Years In Prison

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A Spanaway, Washington convenience store owner was sentenced to eight years in prison for shooting and killing a robber in his store.

Normally, the story would sound ridiculous because anyone reading our articles understand that we would side with those who use a gun in self-defense.  However, in this case, the gun doesn’t seem to have been used in self-defense.

Min Kim, 30, was arrested on a murder charge following the shooting in March 2016, in which Jakeel Mason was killed.  On Friday, he was sentenced to 8 years in prison.

At the time of the shooting, KOMO News reported:

Pierce County sheriff’s investigators are poring over surveillance video to find out whether or not a Spanaway store clerk shot an alleged robber in self-defense.

The shooting killed the suspect. And in an exclusive interview with KOMO News, clerk Ben Kim said his split-second decision will change his life forever.

He was working the register at the Pacific Quickmart on Friday when two men kept causing trouble, harassing other customers, according to Pierce County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Ed Troyer. Kim kicked them out, but they came back into the store and tried to steal cigarettes, Troyer said.

Troyer says there was some sort of confrontation, and one of the suspects was shot and killed at the scene.

In his interview with KOMO, Kim says the confrontation unfolded when one of the suspects went to the cash register. Kim says he pulled out a gun, and at first it looked like the man would surrender. Instead he knocked Kim to the ground and grabbed for his gun, Kim said.

Now, had the shooting occurred at this point, it would most definitely have been self-defense.  However, that is not what happened.

Kim said, “It was going to be either me or him, and I don’t want to leave my family behind.”

He said he shot Mason, who was 21 and later died in the doorway of the store.  A second suspect sat down and waited for police to arrive.

The prosecution looked at the surveillance videos and determines that Kim shot Mason in the back twice as he attempted to flee the store.

In another report from KOMO News:

Video surveillance from inside the store shows that while Kim was outside, Mason attempted to steal cigarettes from behind the counter. As Kim entered the store, he pulled out a pistol from his waistband and held Mason at gunpoint, says a statement issued by the Pierce County prosecutor.

Mason put his hands up and Kim backed him up against a store shelf. Kim then put his gun back in his waistband and punched Mason in the face. The two struggled for a few seconds as Mason tried to get away from Kim, the prosecutor’s statement says.

Once Kim was on the ground, Mason ran toward the door. He picked up a pack of cigarettes as he attempted to leave. Kim stood up, pulled his pistol from his waistband and fired at Mason, striking him twice in the back, according to the prosecutor.

Mason collapsed in the doorway. Kim then picked up the stolen cigarettes and called 911.

I completely understand Kim’s frustration at what went on.  To make matters worse, his wife was shot in the stomach the previous month by a man who robbed their store while a woman and a child waited for him in a car outside.

She was still recovering from her wound when her husband was sentenced.

Something else interesting was also discovered about Mason.  In 2014, he was accused of the attempted kidnapping of a 6-year-old Parkland girl.  The little girl was walking home when Mason and another man attempted to grab her.  She fought them off and was able to get away.

According to court records, Mason was arrested and he was convicted of unlawful imprisonment and sentenced to 90 days in jail.

Still, Kim acknowledged that though all these things had occurred, he had no right to shoot the man in the back.

“I did not have the right to take Mr. Mason’s life or anyone else’s life,” Min Kim said in court on Friday. “I feel terrible that I did so and will have to live with that for the rest of my life.”

Anyone can understand how he must have felt in the moment, especially since his wife had just been shot a month prior.  Even she said it had weighed heavily on him.

“My husband struggled in fear of losing me,” Ms. Kim said.

Ms. Kim also wrote a letter of apology to the family of Mason.

Several things should be noted here.  If government would have dealt out to Mason justice, he would have been executed for the attempted kidnapping of the little girl.  It’s a shame this family has to go through what it is going through due to all the mitigating circumstances of the previous robbery and the fact that Mason was still alive to commit the crime he committed after his kidnapping attempt.

However, though I sympathize with what took place, to shoot a man in the back as he is fleeing cannot be condoned.

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