PONTIAC (WWJ) – A Clarkston woman who allegedly fired her handgun at a fleeing Home Depot shoplifter has been charged in connection with the shooting.
Eyewitnesses said they saw 46-year-old Tatiana Duva-Rodriguez take aim and shoot at the man’s vehicle after he’d reportedly ran from the Auburn Hills store with a stolen drill in his cart.
Witnesses said she fired three times, hitting one of the tires on the dark-colored SUV — but the man and his companion still managed to flee the parking lot.
One week following the Oct. 6 incident — at the Home Depot on Joslyn Road — Oakland County Prosecutor Jessica Cooper announced Duva-Rodriguez faces one count of reckless use, handling or discharge or a firearm.
Cooper said investigators believe Duva-Rodriguez’s “misguided attempt” to disable the alleged shoplifter’s vehicle put others in danger.
“If this is proven, I find it very disturbing that someone would take out their gun in a busy parking lot and shoot at the tires of a passing car,” Cooper said, in a statement. “Once fired, the bullet could have easily ricocheted or fragmented and injured or killed someone else. It would have been much more helpful for her to take out her cellphone and shoot pictures of the shoplifter’s license plate.”
Noting that Duva-Rodriguez is a concealed pistol license (CPL) holder, Auburn Hills Police Chief Doreen Olko offered a word of advice to others who legally own guns.
“We are grateful that nothing more serious happened as a result of the decision to fire a weapon in a busy parking lot. We do not encourage bystanders to insert themselves into incidents because of the potential for deadly consequences,” he said.
Oakland County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Paul Walton said the charge against Duva-Rodriguez is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in jail and fines. If convicted, she could also lose her handgun permit.
“A CPL, or the ability to carry a gun, does not suddenly turn your community into the Wild West,” Walton said. “There are still laws that people have to abide by; and, in this case, she is not a police officer, she’s not a sworn officer, she doesn’t have any of the training.”
“And even a police office wouldn’t respond with this type of use of force,” he added.
A $5,000 personal bond was set for Duva-Rodriguez at an arraignment Tuesday afternoon in 52-3rd Rochester Hills District Court. A not guilty plea was entered on her behalf and her next court day was set for Monday, Oct. 26.
Meantime, the alleged shoplifter and his accomplice have been identified. Anthony Harris, 46, of Flint, was arraigned Saturday on a charge of first degree retail fraud. The second suspect, a 52-year-old Flint area man, remains in custody on outstanding warrants pending a line-up.