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Slain Home Depot security guard's family upset with DA Pamela Price's handling of case

Parents of Home Depot employee killed by shoplifter upset by DA Price's decision to seek lesser char
Parents of Home Depot employee killed by shoplifter upset by DA Price's decision to seek lesser char 03:43

NEWARK -- The parents of 26-year-old Blake Mohs, a Home Depot loss prevention employee, who police said was shot to death by a shoplifter in April, are deeply troubled by the lack of communication with District Attorney Pamela Price and her decision to pursue lesser charges and sentencing in the case.  

Benicia Knapps and the suspected getaway driver David Guillory were arrested shortly the fatal shooting after in Oakland. Knapp's 2-year-old daughter was also inside the waiting car.


"My son was only 26, he didn't even see the gun, he didn't have any idea," Blake's mother Lorie Mohs told KPIX. "He was doing his job, and it was over, he was back in the store safe. This woman came back for him. How is that not intent?"

Mohs choked back tears, six weeks to the day her son was killed at the Pleasanton store. It happened around 2:15 p.m. at the store located at 6000 Johnson Drive. 

Police said Knapps stole a charger for a power tool, and tried to leave the store through the loading dock when she was stopped by Blake. 

Lorie said her son was shot in the chest at close range, and Knapps retrieved the item after killing him.  

Since his death, the family said Price has never reached out. It was only after consistent outreach on their part, that a DA assigned to the case responded.

"The phone call was that Pamela Price was not going to meet with us, she was not going to have a conversation with us, and we discussed my concerns about the charges, and we were not being kept in the loop with my victim's advocate along with the DA's office," Mohs said. 

Blake's parents Lorie and Eric were told Price had a full schedule until mid-June. Still, they said the office did not proceed to schedule a meeting. 

They also learned that both suspects are felons.

"[Knapps] is facing murder charges, and something called Little Gun, which means 5 years,"  Mohs said. "It's not robbery, it's not intent to rob, and there are no special circumstances or enhancements being added at all, and we were told by the DA that is on our case that we should expect none, because it is the policy of Pamela Price to not add enhancements or special circumstances. It doesn't make any logical sense in my heart, in my space or anything."

Blake was set to get married this August and aspired to be a police officer. He was active with the Boy Scouts his entire life.

Mohs said her son loved his job, though it could be dangerous.  

"He would tell me 'Oh a knife was pulled on me,' and he talked about guns being pulled on him," she said. "He talked about the mass amounts of shoplifting. It was in Pleasanton, it was in every store, he worked all of Alameda County."

Since Price was elected in November on a platform denouncing tough sentencing and reducing mass incarceration, several longtime prosecutors have left her office. She faces increasing scrutiny and backlash for doing away with most sentencing enhancements. 

"We should not be incarcerating them. But we should be mentoring and raising our young people and supporting them and creating restorative justice opportunities for them," Price told the crowd at a rally in support of her in late April.  

"She's not allowing us to grieve - that's the reality - is she's got us so focused and stuck on fighting for justice, that we don't get to process any of the emotion," Mohs said. "We don't get to process what Christmas looks like... it's not fair and it's not right."

Blake's father Eric said he misses his son's distinctive laugh the most. Lorie said she longs for his hugs. 

"His hugs were the best place to be, no matter what circumstance you were in, and I could really use one of those."

KPIX 5 reached out to the Price's office regarding this case shortly after business hours. We will update this story if we hear back. Regarding other cases, Price has repeatedly refused to do any media interviews, and responded to high-profile case inquiries with pre-recorded video statements.     

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