US woman who fired at shoplifter's vehicle charged

CHICAGO • A woman who shot at the tyres of a fleeing shoplifter in the carpark of a Home Depot faces criminal charges, United States prosecutors have said.

Tatiana Duva-Rodriguez was charged on Tuesday with reckless discharge, handling or use of a firearm, a misdemeanour with a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail.

Police said nobody was in any danger when Duva-Rodriguez, 46, pulled out a gun after hearing someone shout "stop thief" last week in suburban Detroit, Michigan.

Prosecutors said that she shot at the tyres as the shoplifter's Jeep drove past in a "misguided attempt to disable the vehicle".

"I find it very disturbing that someone would take out their gun in a busy parking lot," Oakland County Prosecutor Jessica Cooper said. "The bullet could have easily ricocheted or fragmented, and injured or killed someone else."

Auburn Hills Chief of Police Doreen Olko said she was "grateful that nothing more serious happened". "We do not encourage bystanders to insert themselves into incidents because of the potential for deadly consequences."

Meanwhile, prosecutors in Indiana are still weighing whether to press charges against a man who helped employees chase two shoplifters into the carpark of a Big R farm supply store and then fired one shot towards them.

Police said the shoplifters never threatened anyone, according to Fox28 news in Elkhart, Indiana.

"It scares me sometimes that people are just so ready to pull out and start blazing," shopper Robert Miller told the station.

"Call the police, let the professionals handle it."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 15, 2015, with the headline 'US woman who fired at shoplifter's vehicle charged'. Print Edition | Subscribe