A retired NYPD officer shot an unarmed suspected shoplifter outside his North Bellmore liquor store, after the suspect dragged him with his car as the owner tried to stop him from fleeing with liquor, Nassau police said Tuesday.
The owner of Newbridge Wine & Liquors, identified by police as a retired cop, 69, shot one of the suspected thieves in the shoulder Monday night with a legally licensed handgun, in what police said was a justified shooting.
Det. Lt. Richard LeBrun, the department’s chief spokesman, said the retired officer, who he called the victim, will not face criminal charges for the shooting. He said the Nassau district attorney’s office had also investigated and concurred with the police findings.
The alleged robber, Jamik Q. Cannon, 23, of Linden Place, Hempstead, who was shot, was arrested and faces multiple robbery charges; two other suspected thieves are at large, police said.
Brendan Brosh, a spokesman for the Nassau district attorney, said in an email: “Based on the information that we have, there will be no charges at this time and we do not anticipate bringing them.”
LeBrun said investigators have video surveillance of the incident from the liquor store, as well as a witness account, but refused to release the video Tuesday. Police were also unclear about exactly when the store owner got out his gun to shoot the suspect.
The incident occurred about 6:33 p.m. Monday at the liquor store on Newbridge Road when Cannon and two other men entered the store and “began to take merchandise ... bottles of liquor in their pockets,” said LeBrun.
The store owner chased the suspects outside and told them to stop, LeBrun said. One suspect, described as “heavy set,” fled on foot, while another suspect and Cannon got into his rented gray 2015 Toyota Corolla, with Cannon driving, and tried to flee.
The store owner then “reached into an open passenger side door [of the Corolla] in an attempt to turn the vehicle off,” said LeBrun. Cannon “placed the vehicle in reverse,” said LeBrun, and the car was “dragging him approximately 20 feet” onto Newbridge Road.
At that point, the owner fired two shots from his .38-caliber Smith & Wesson handgun, LeBrun said. One shot struck Cannon in the shoulder and the other round has not been recovered, LeBrun said.
“If this was any Joe citizen without any type of law enforcement background, we would look at this case the same way,” said LeBrun at a news briefing Tuesday. “He fired his weapon, because again, he was in fear for his life and the vehicle that they were driving became their weapon of choice...He was being dragged backwards.”
Cannon and the other suspect fled and Cannon later went to a hospital seeking medical aid for his gunshot wound, LeBrun said. The owner was not injured.
Cannon was arrested at the hospital at about 10:30 p.m. Cannon was charged with second- and third-degree robbery, second-degree reckless endangerment. He’s also charged with petty larceny in connection with a May 28 theft from a Baldwin liquor store and has a criminal record, including what LeBrun described as four felony charges and two misdemeanors.
Online court records show Cannon was charged in May in Brooklyn with felony assault and third-degree possession of a weapon. The case is pending.
Police initially said in a news release that the store owner “removed his...handgun from his holster and fired the weapon,” while he was being dragged. At the news briefing, LeBrun first told reporters “his weapon was drawn when he left the store.”
Asked about the discrepancy, LeBrun said the owner was carrying the gun in the holster when he left the store, and didn’t take it out until he was dragged.
LeBrun said the store owner put himself in danger “a little bit by chasing the suspects,” but added, “Remember, it’s his store, ...he’s the victim....Again, he was in fear for his life.” He said people in similar situations are advised to take down the license plate of the suspect, rather than give chase.
The principal of the liquor store is identified in state liquor license records as William S. Northrop, 43, of Massapequa. The store’s liquor license is valid through Sept. 30, 2017, the records show.
No one responded to a phone message left at Northrop’s home number. A man who answered the phone at the store Tuesday would not identify himself and declined to comment.
Nassau District Court Judge Joseph Girardi ordered Cannon held without bail at his arraignment Wednesday. Cannon was represented by a Legal Aid Society Attorney and is due back in court Friday.
— With John Valenti