Thu, April 13, 2023 at 5:58 PM CDT·2 min read
UPDATE: This story has been updated to include a statement from Walgreens.
A Walgreens employee accused of shooting a pregnant woman in Tennessee said he thought she was shoplifting and acted in self-defense, Nashville police said.
The Walgreens team leader, a 21-year-old man, told police that another employee informed him they saw two women stealing items from the shelves in the East Nashville store around 8 p.m on April 12, according to a Metropolitan Nashville Police Department news release on April 13.
The team leader said he saw the women putting items in a store cart and in a large over-the-shoulder purse, police said.
Police said the team leader started recording the women using his cellphone and followed them out into the parking lot after he said they left the store without paying.
He followed the women to their car and saw them putting items into their trunk, according to the news release. Then, the team leader told police one of the women pulled out a “can of mace and began spraying” him.
The employee told investigators he “was in fear” and he wasn’t sure if the women were armed, so he pulled out a gun and opened fire, hitting one of the women, according to police.
The 34-year-old woman was seven months pregnant, according to Nashville police, and was taken to a hospital by the other woman she was with. The other woman dropped off the pregnant woman and then drove away, police said.
The pregnant woman had multiple gunshot wounds, and doctors had to perform an emergency cesarean section, according to the news release.
The child did not have any gunshot injuries, but the baby and the mother were listed in critical but stable condition, according to police.
The team leader said he acted in self-defense and is cooperating with the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department, according to police. He handed over his gun and cellphone, the news release said.
“The safety of our patients, customers and team members is our top priority, and violence of any kind will not be tolerated at our stores. We take this matter seriously and are cooperating with local authorities,” Walgreens said in an emailed statement to McClatchy News.
The district attorney’s office will determine if charges will be filed against the Walgreens employee once the investigation has finished, according to police.