Washington man shoots man he mistakenly thought was shoplifting, police say

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A 70-year-old Washington state man confronted and shot an innocent man who he mistakenly thought was shoplifting from a grocery store over the weekend, authorities said.

Officers responded around 11:20 p.m. to a reported shooting at a Safeway in the 4800 block of Point Fosdick Drive on Saturday, Gig Harbor police said. 

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The 70-year-old man identified himself to officers as the shooter and immediately complied with police. A 9mm handgun was recovered from the suspect.

The shooting happened around 11:20 p.m. Saturday at a Safeway in Gig Harbor, Washington.

The shooting happened around 11:20 p.m. Saturday at a Safeway in Gig Harbor, Washington.
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The 40-year-old victim was found inside the store with an apparent gunshot wound to his neck. Police said he was conscious and alert.

Witnesses told officers that the 70-year-old confronted the victim as he was leaving the store with items.

“The suspect wrongly believed that the victim was stealing the merchandise and blocked the exit with his grocery cart and body,” police said.

During the confrontation, police said a physical fight broke out between the two men and the suspect drew the handgun. The 70-year-old allegedly fired the gun at least twice, striking the victim once on the side of the neck. A second shot appeared to strike the glass door to the store.

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The victim was rushed to St. Joseph Hospital for treatment and later released.

The 70-year-old was booked into the Pierce County Jail on one count of first-degree assault.

Gig Harbor is a city located about 44 miles southwest of Seattle.

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