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Home Depot employee fatally shot while confronting alleged shoplifter


(PLEASANTON, Calif.) — A 26-year-old Home Depot employee was fatally shot after confronting an alleged shoplifter armed with a handgun at a California store, authorities said.

The suspected shooter was detained along with an alleged accomplice after fleeing the scene in a getaway car, police said.

The shooting occurred around 2:15 p.m. Tuesday inside a Home Depot in Pleasanton, in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Blake Mohs, an unarmed loss prevention employee, “attempted to stop a theft in progress when a struggle ensued,” the Pleasanton Police Department said in a statement. The female suspect was allegedly trying to leave the store with what was believed to be an electrical item when she “resisted and shot him,” police said.

Mohs later died from his injuries, police said.

“Blake’s life was cut short by this senseless act of violence that started as a theft and turned into a robbery and ended in his murder,” Pleasanton Lt. Erik Silacci said during a press briefing Wednesday.

The shooting suspect — identified by police as 32-year-old Benicia Knapps — allegedly escaped in a getaway car driven by David Guillory, 31, police said. Her 2-year-old child was also inside the car, according to police.

The suspects were detained shortly after the incident in Oakland by Alameda County Sheriff’s Office deputies and the handgun believed to have been used in the shooting was recovered in a nearby intersection, police said. The child was also reunited with relatives, police said.

Guillory has been booked into Santa Rita County Jail on charges including obstruction, evading a police officer and child abuse, jail records show.

Knapps is at a hospital receiving medical treatment and will be booked once she is discharged, Silacci said. Police believe she may have been struck by the getaway car following the shooting, he said.

Knapps will be booked on charges including murder, robbery, child endangerment and conspiracy, Silacci said. Additional charges could be likely, he said.

Mohs was a Tri-Valley resident who planned to get married this summer, police said.

“We’re heartbroken over this senseless tragedy,” Home Depot said in a statement. “Blake was our associate and friend, and our hearts go out to his family and everyone who knew and loved him.”

Pleasanton Mayor Karla Brown called the shooting “senseless.”

“To have a life cut short is heartbreaking and infuriating,” Brown said in a statement. “I’m joined by the City Council in offering our deepest condolences to Blake’s family, friends, loved ones, and to everyone impacted by this tragedy.”

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