Store owner sentenced to eight years for killing shoplifter

Min Kim pleaded guilty to fatally shooting Jakeel Mason in the back.

Photo Credit: KOMO

Last week in Washington state, a Korean American convenience store owner was sentenced to serve eight years in prison for shooting and killing a fleeing shoplifting suspect last year.

Spanaway convenience store owner who shot & killed thief sentenced to 8 years in prison

31-year-old Min Kim pleaded guilty earlier this year to fatally shooting Jakeel Mason after he caught Mason shoplifting at his convenience store, Pacific Quick Shop in Spanaway. Mason was trying to flee from the store when Kim shot him in the back. Kim initially claimed he shot in self-defense.

However, prosecutors say surveillance video showed that Mason, who was unarmed, put his hands up and backed away when Kim pulled a gun on him. When Kim started fighting with him, Mason broke free and ran toward the door. Kim shot him twice in the back, killing him.

Photo Credit: KOMO

Kim told Pierce County Superior Court Judge John Hickman on Friday that he accepted responsibility for what he did and apologized for his actions. He also said he would accept whatever sentence was handed to him.

"I did not have the right to take Mr. Mason's life or anyone else's life," Kim said in court. "I feel terrible that I did so and will have to live with that for the rest of my life."

The shooting came a month after Kim's wife was shot and wounded during a shootout in the store with an armed robber. She suffered only minor injuries, but Kim's attorney said he was still angry, afraid and distraught over his wife's shooting when he encountered Mason.

Prosecutors asked for a sentence of a little more than ten years, while Kim's attorney asked for just two years. The judge decided on eight years and four months, citing Kim's unwarranted use of deadly force.

"The use of deadly force, when your own safety is not threatened, does not justify shooting someone in the back," Hickman said.

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