Walmart Employee Fatally Shoots Customer, Investigators Say

Walmart Employee Fatally Shoots Customer, Investigators Say
Tironie Sterling. (Broward County Sheriff's Office via AP)

An off-duty Walmart employee fatally shot a customer who tried to help a female employee who had gotten into a fight with the gunman, Florida law enforcement officials said Wednesday.

Tironie Sterling, 22, is charged with first-degree murder for Tuesday afternoon’s shooting at a suburban Fort Lauderdale Walmart, the Broward County Sheriff’s Office said.

According to investigators, Sterling went to the Lauderdale Lakes store to meet with a female colleague. They got into an argument that escalated into a fight, with Sterling dropping a handgun onto the floor.

A male customer came to the woman’s aid, but Sterling retrieved his gun and shot the man several times, killing him, investigators said. The victim’s name and age have not been released.

Sterling fled the store, but was arrested hours later, investigators said. He was being held without bond Wednesday awaiting his initial court appearance. It could not be immediately determined if he has an attorney.

“Senseless violence like this is intolerable, and we’re heartbroken the customer who intervened in an apparent attack on one of our associates has died from his injuries,” Walmart spokesman Charles Crowson said in a statement. “We offer our heartfelt condolences to his family during this difficult time and will continue working with our associates, providing support as needed.”

He said Sterling has been suspended and “steps are underway to terminate his employment.”

By Lauderdale Lakes

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