A security guard at a Home Depot in San Carlos opened fire on a suspected shoplifter following a physical confrontation Monday night that involved the security guard being assaulted with his own baton, authorities said.
The incident happened at about 10 p.m. at the Home Depot store at 1125 Old County Road. The San Mateo County Sheriff's Office said employees confronted a suspected shoplifter, which led to an altercation that included the armed security guard.
During the melee, the suspect managed to get a hold of the security guard's collapsible baton and began hitting him in the face and the head, the sheriff's office said. The suspect threw the baton into a window at the store entrance, breaking it.
After the assault, the security guard fired two rounds at the suspect, with at least one round hitting him. The sheriff's office said a deputy happened to be in the area and heard the shots, responding within moments and requesting additional units.
The deputy was able to detain the suspect, identified as 26-year-old Jonathan Mackey of San Carlos. Both Mackey and the security guard were taken to the hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening.
Nate Torsch and his 14 year old daughter live in Redwood City and were visiting the Home Depot location Tuesday.
"Today I just happened to be with my daughter running errands and I actually told her, 'This is a pretty sketchy parking lot. Stay close,'" he said.
Torsch said he wasn't really surprised when he heard about the shooting.
"This is our closest Home Depot to us. It is San Carlos," said Torsch. "It's still better than most cities in the Bay Area, but it was only a matter of time before that was going to start coming this way."
Evan Frazer owns A&E Security in San Leandro. He says with more and more violence occurring in retail settings, there is a huge surge in demand for security guards, particularly guards with advanced certifications that allow them to carry a baton or a firearm.
"It's a very unfortunate situation. Unfortunately it's becoming a common occurrence now," said Frazer. "Even the most affluent areas where crime is not necessarily a huge, huge issue, they are starting to hire guards just as a matter of practice."
However, when it comes to armed security guards protecting stores, customers have mixed opinions.
"I know theft has been rampant in a lot of these areas, but I think we have to come up with alternatives," said Home Depot shopper John Groff. "Otherwise people are going to continue to die as a result of gun violence. And this kind of sort of sanctioned gun violence."
"They're here to protect us and I think they need to have what's needed to protect the people around them. I mean, that's their job," said Jason Allen, another Home Depot Shopper. "And it's kind of hard to do that with a baton when the bad guys out there are carrying weapons."
Armed security guards do not have to go through the same type of training as police officers. The state requires a minimum of 40 hours of training to be a security guard, then additional training to carry pepper spray, batons or a firearm.
The sheriff's office is asking anyone with information about the incident to call 650-363-4911 or the anonymous tip line at 800-547-2700.
In April, a security guard. Police said 26-year-old security guard Blake Mohs confronted the alleged shoplifter, 32-year-old Benicia Knapps, at the store's loading dock when Knapps opened fire on him. Mohs later died at the hospital.
Last month, a 46-year-old man was arrested for.
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