SPANAWAY, Wash. – A Spanaway convenience store owner has been sentenced to eight years in prison for shooting and killing a fleeing shoplifting suspect.
Min Kim told the judge on Friday he accepted responsibility for what he did and apologized for his actions.
As the cuffs went on Kim the tears and the anguish were unleashed from his family, trying to come to grips with the fact Kim is heading off to begin his prison sentence for shooting and killing Jakeel Mason last year.
In March 2016, Mason was a shoplifting suspect at Kim’s Pacific Quick Shop and was trying to flee from the store, when he was shot in the back.
The fatal shooting came one month after Kim’s wife, Seul Lim, was wounded by an armed would-be robber when she and the suspect exchanged gunfire. Those robbery suspects were caught.
Then a month later, Kim was the one dealing with people trying to steal from his store. He told KOMO News back then it was a struggle for his gun and he shot the suspect in self defense.
“I was down and he was on top of me and he was trying to reach my gun,” Min Kim said in a March 26, 2016 interview.
But, the prosecutor said the video showed a suspect who was unarmed and hands up. After a brief scuffle, the suspect tried to get away, that’s when Kim fired shots.
“I did not have the right to take Mr. Mason’s life or anyone else’s life,” Min Kim said in court on Friday. “I feel terrible that I did so and will have to live with that for the rest of my life.”
His wife said the earlier assault on her had been weighing heavily on him.
“I was shot by a robber and after that my husband struggled in fear of losing me,” Lim Kim told the court.
Judge John Hickman agreed it was a tough situation, but said deadly force was not warranted.
Kim said he would accept whatever was handed to him. But, the reality of a prison term was painful for his family.
No one was there on behalf of Mason.
Kim asked the judge for permission to write a letter of apology to Mason’s family. Most often there are no-contact orders with family, but the judge granted that request.