MARGATE (CBS4) – Walmart employees in Margate are mourning the loss of a popular loss prevention officer after he was allegedly gunned down by a fleeing thief Friday night.
Margate Police say the unidentified suspect was attempting to steal undershirts from the store, located on the 5600 block of West Atlantic Avenue before he was stopped by the loss prevention officer near the store exit.
The suspect opened fire, striking the officer. The suspect then fled the store.
The shooting happened about 7:15 Friday evening when the store was full of shoppers.
“I just grabbed my two kids -my seven and five year old and ran,” said Jermaine Burbridge.
Edward Jorgensen said he heard the shots, he described the sound: “bang bang twice and everybody running like ants it was so scary.”
The officer, identified as Lewis Jhon, 49, was taken to North Broward Medical Center where he was pronounced dead. Lt. Andy Zettek of the Margate Police Department said Jhon worked at the store for several years, adding, “He’s regarded as an excellent employee well-liked he worked with the police dept and he’s well-liked.”
Several blocks away from the store, officers responded to the area of 512 NW 61st Avenue after receiving reports of gunshots.
Police told CBS4’s Maggie Newland it appeared the suspect shot himself.
“That suspect appears to have died as the result of a self inflicted gunshot wound,” said Lt. Zettek.
The suspect has not been identified. Police say a woman was seen with the suspect around the time of the shooting and they are calling her a possible person of interest.