Armed bystanders pull guns to stop 'Western shootout' in Walmart parking lot
Four people were arrested after a shooting in a Walmart parking lot was disrupted by onlookers with guns of their own. One intervening man said he acted out of “civil responsibility,” but police urged the public to act as “good witnesses” in future.
“This sounds like an old Western shootout out in the Wal-Mart parking lot and obviously can’t be countenanced,” Justice Robert Mullen said, according to the Morning Sentinel, during a Monday hearing for three of the four arrested for their roles in the shooting in a Walmart parking lot in Augusta, Maine on Sunday.
According to the Augusta Police Department, they made their arrests thanks to two eyewitnesses to the shootout, who took out their legally-owned handguns to quell the violence. While police did not release the names of the vigilant spectators, a Portland news station interviewed one.
“If a situation is there, you have - not just a personal responsibility - but a civil responsibility to uphold the sanctity of the community,” Daniel Chavanne told WCSH. “That was the moment – the situation was there, and I reacted.”
The four arrested were Kwiesha "Reggie" McBride of Harlem, New York, Frankie Dejesus of Rochester, New York, Diana Davis, also of Rochester, New York, and Samantha Tupper of Augusta.
McBride faces charges of reckless conduct with a firearm, a Class C felony, and aggravated trafficking in schedule W drugs, in this case heroin, a Class B felony. Dejesus is also charged with reckless conduct with a firearm and aggravated assault, a Class B felony. Davis, too, faces an aggravated assault charge, while Tupper faces a probation violation and a charge of furnishing schedule W drugs, heroin, a Class B felony. Their respective bails are $50,000, $25,000, $5,000 and no bail amount for Tupper. They were all booked in Kennebec County Jail.
According to an affidavit filed by Augusta police, McBride and Tupper were in a white Ford Taurus parked next to a silver Volkswagen, where Dejesus and Davis, along with two other women, were sitting in the Walmart parking lot. Shots were fired from one car to another before a physical altercation broke out, which is when the armed bystanders got close enough to the scene to prevent an escalation.
“I informed them that I had a gun, to break it up and get down on the ground,” Chavanne told WCSH. “It's what any right-minded person should have done."
While Dejesus and Davis did as instructed, McBride and Tupper fled in their vehicle. Police eventually located them at Tupper’s nearby home, where they found the heroin. There were no injuries, except for an abrasion to McBride’s mid-section from a bullet.
“The outcome in this incident was the preferred outcome; however, from our standpoint, we would encourage people: make yourself safe, make your family safe, and then just become a good witness for us. We certainly would not want to encourage citizens to intervene in something like this because you don't know what's going to happen,” police said, according to WCSH.
The only encouragement Chavanne required, however, was the potential risk his wife and children faced in that parking lot. Chavanne was about to drive home with his family when they heard the shots.
“There would have been at least one body. They would not have stopped if they weren't stopped,” Chavane told WMTW.