It might be an ugly sign of the recession, but there have been two violent encounters involving suspected shoplifters at a major Burbank retail store in less than a week. The latest occurred today at around noon in front of the Kmart store at 1000 North San Fernando Road.
The official Burbank police press release says:”Officers had taken the suspect into custody and were outside the store when a struggle began. During the struggle, shots were fired, leaving both officers with gunshot wounds. The suspect continued fighting with one of the wounded officers, until he was finally placed under control. Additional officers arrived and assisted in taking the suspect into custody.” There are conflicting reports over some of the details of what went down.
A shopper/witness at the Kmart was interviewed by a KNX 1070 newsradio reporter and Joseph Hoage claims the unidentified male suspect “… was definitely handcuffed…” but still was able to “… grabbed the police officer’s gun…” Other witness accounts claim the gun belonged to the suspect!
Burbank Police Spokesman, Robert Quesada, told me in an e-mail:” We don’t know exactly how things transpired until we find witnesses and interview the officers. They are still at the hospital. We sure would like to speak to any witness who saw, recorded the incident.”
One of the officers suffered a hand wound and the other was hit in the leg. One of the unidentified officers was shot several times in the chest, but apparently escaped serious injury do to his bulletproof vest. Both officers and the suspect, who had to be tasered, were taken to a local hospital for treatment.
The suspect is expected to be booked on two counts of attempted murder and is due to appear in a Burbank Superior court on Wednesday, July 7.
Meanwhile, Burbank PD is investigation another incident that turned violent near the same discount department store, Last Sunday, June 27. A store security officer reportedly got into a “fight” while trying to stop and detain two women suspected of stealing some clothes. The suspects allegedly attacked the security officer outside the store.
The security officer was able to get handcuffs on one suspect, while the other got away. Burbank PD responded and took the suspect into custody.