According to KHOU-TV in Houston, the store’s loss prevention staff alerted the off-duty deputy to a group of women believed to be leaving the store with pilfered items stashed in their purses.
When the deputy confronted the women and identified himself as a law enforcement officer, they attempted to flee, with one suspected shoplifter hitting him with her bag.
He continued to follow them into the parking lot. The deputy reached one of the suspects at her car, opened the door and ordered her to stop, but authorities say she began to drive away, dragging the officer with her.
“I think it knocked him off balance and, in fear of his life and being ran over, he discharged his weapon at that point,” a Harris County Sheriff’s Office rep told reporters about the events leading up to the shooting.
The suspect was able to flee the scene, but was eventually located at a nearby apartment complex, where paramedics attempted unsuccessfully to revive her.
This is the second shoplifter-related death at a Walmart in just the last few weeks. On Black Friday weekend, a shoplifting suspect in Georgia died following an altercation with two Walmart employees and a contract security officer.