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Ernesto Paul Aguilar, who was suspected of shoplifting in a California Walmart, was detained by officers and wound up getting shot point-blank in the head while being held down by two deputies and a civilian during the encounter after an officer saw that he had a gun.
The incident was caught on police bodycam footage and a store surveillance video.
Aguilar, 30, was handcuffed while being restrained when one of the officers reportedly yelled, “He’s got a gun! Shoot him!” One of the officers then shot the suspect in the head. Aguilar miraculously survived the shooting and is currently in jail with bail set at approximately $2.3 million, Daily Mail reported.
The whole chaotic encounter unfolded at approximately 10 p.m. on January 19 at a Lake Forest Walmart. A store security guard initially called 911 reporting that Aguilar and his alleged wife were attempting to steal from the store using a “fake” Walmart+ receipt. It is unknown how the guard came to that conclusion.
Aguilar was standing in line getting ready to checkout with cash in hand when the police arrived. The suspect claimed that he and his wife were there to purchase toys and diapers.
(Video Credit: The Daily Mail)
Officers asked the couple to leave “peacefully.” One deputy asked Aguilar, “Why are you doing this? You’re like 40 years old and you’re still stealing, dude? Get a job, let’s go.”
A deputy informed the husband and wife they were not going to be arrested for shoplifting but they were going to be charged with trespassing. They were told not to return to that Walmart.
As they were being escorted out of the store, another deputy told his colleague that Aguilar had a knife. The suspect started to reach for the knife and the deputy ordered him to “get your f**king hand off the knife” and to “get the f**k out of the store.”
At that point, the officer informed Aguilar that he was under arrest and to “put his hands behind his back.” He proceeded to handcuff him as Aguilar struggled with the officer.
“You’re going to put you in handcuffs because I don’t know if you have other weapons,” the deputy reportedly told him. “If you fight, we’re going to get on the ground. I’m promising you right now that you’re not going to win this fight.”
Two deputies struggled with the suspect as they tried to handcuff him and the incident got rough. Aguilar began begging other customers to help him.
“Can somebody help me? I’m not trying to do nothing,” he stated. He told the cops he was “freaking out” as officers struggled to restrain him.
Aguilar was finally wrestled to the ground as backup was called.
He told the officer, “My money, my money, please — I need my money.” His wife told NBC LA that Aguilar had $1,000 on him and “was going to pay for the items in his cart.”
Then a deputy discovered that Aguilar had a gun.
“He’s got a gun! He’s got a gun! Shoot him, shoot him!” the deputy yelled.
An individual present also reportedly started yelling, “Shoot him, shoot him, shoot him, shoot him.” The Daily Mail is reporting that the person allegedly stated later, “Nice, nice, nice,” after the shooting.
Aguilar was shot directly in the head by the deputy and went limp. The shooting was then called in.
The suspect had a gun in his waistband near his knife. A deputy grabbed it and threw it across the register away from the altercation.
“I’m dying,” Aguilar said after being shot. He was then transported to a hospital and underwent surgery.
The suspect was charged with a number of felonies including assault of a police officer and possession of a gun with a missing serial number. The shooting is currently under investigation.
His wife commented that she didn’t know he had the weapons and that “carrying a gun into Walmart is like a death sentence.” While her alleged husband was being subdued, the woman reportedly fled in their car.
“I wasn’t under arrest, didn’t commit a crime, so even if they got my license plate I didn’t think they’d come and get me for anything because I didn’t commit a crime,” she told NBC Los Angeles during an interview. Later, she was found at home and claimed she didn’t know Aguilar had been shot.
“I just thought he got beat up real bad. I thought that’s why they put him in the hospital. I didn’t know he got shot in the head,” she claimed. “I’m traumatized. Just thinking about Walmart makes me want to throw up. I will never step foot inside a Walmart ever again in my life.”
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