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Store Clerk Charged With Murder After Chasing Down – And Gunning Down – Suspected Shoplifter

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – A convenience store clerk has been charged with murder after shooting a fleeing shoplifting suspect in the face. The incident occurred at the Speedway located at 4960 E 56th Street on the night of June 29th.

Vincent Bibbs, 49, was working at the store when witnesses say he left his register to chase a man who had “a big clear bag of something.”  A witness reportedly heard “Hey, Hey, Hey!” and “Just give it back!”, and then heard a single gunshot. Another witness saw the man get into a car to drive away, and Bibbs approaching the driver’s side window and firing a pistol in the direction of the driver.

Bibbs came back inside, waited on two customers, and then called 911 to report the incident. Arriving officers found Damon McClain, 49, in the front seat of his car. He was pronounced dead on the scene at 11:35 p.m.

Officers also located a black 9mm handgun and a single shell casing nearby, and several 4-packs of Red Bull energy drinks strewn about. When questioned, Bibbs denied any involvement, and told investigators that he never heard any shots and never had a gun.

Surveillance video told a different story, showing McClain putting the canned beverages in a bag and walking out of the store. It also shows Bibbs following him out the door. Bibbs then changed his story, telling officers that he “messed up by going outside,” admitting that the gun was his and that he pointed it at McClain just before it “went off.” He was arrested on the morning following the shooting and was charged with carrying a handgun without a license and murder.

A lawyer unconnected to the case stated to a local media outlet, “In the state of Indiana, you cannot use deadly force to stop someone from stealing property. The law is pretty clear, but we have to look through the eyes of the store clerk. What was he thinking at the time he confronted the shoplifter? Was he trying to stop the shoplifter just because he was stealing Red Bulls, or was he in fear for his life?”

Retired lawyer and Indiana State Representative Ed Delaney (Democrat) offered a different take on the incident, inferring that the employer bears some blame, saying “The high-end convenience stores, they have bright lights, multiple staff; they’re open 24 hours; they don’t let people loiter in the parking lot; they know how to do it. The problem is the low-end convenience stores in the tougher neighborhoods just don’t want to spend the money on safety but want the revenue they can get.”

McLain was a father and Army veteran, described as having a “huge heart of gold.”

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