Shelly Frey, a 27-year-old mother of two, was shot and killed by an off duty police officer who was working as a security guard at a Walmart in Houston, Texas. Frey was suspected of shoplifting, an accusation that led to her untimely death.
According to police, Frey and two other women, Tisa Andrews and Yolanda Craig, were attempting to steal merchandise from a local Walmart when Officer Louis Campbell confronted them.
After attempting to stop the women at the door, Campbell told officials that he followed the women to their car and tried to open the door to stop them from leaving the scene. As the driver pulled off, Campbell, a 26-year veteran of the force, fired into the car striking Frey in the neck.
Harris County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Deputy Thomas Gilliland tried to explain the officer’s actions: “When the vehicle took off, he was standing between the door frame and the driver. I think it knocked him off balance and in fear for his life, being run over, he discharged his weapon at that point.”
Others are questioning the officer’s decision to fire into the car, which also had two small children in the backseat.
“You know, there could have been another way around it, of getting her to stop, anything but pulling the trigger,” Calvin Mitchell, a neighbor of one of the women involved, said.
Another neighbor, Angel Gaines added: “To me, it should never (have) happened. I wish the officer didn’t shoot her. I wish he shot her tires just to slow her down. That’s a mother you know. And now they have to figure out what to do with the kids.”
Frey’s father described her as the “perfect mom, perfect friend, perfect daughter,’ and insisted that even if she had been stealing, she didn’t deserve to die.
After Frey was shot in the neck, the women drove to an apartment complex where one of them lived; Frey was pronounced dead when paramedics arrived on the scene.
Tiasa Andrews and Yolanda Craig were charged with robbery, and Andrews was also charged with assaulting a public servant for hitting the officer with her purse as they left the store. Officer Campbell is on paid leave while the incident is being investigated.
Walmart issued a statement, saying: “This is a tragic situation and we recognize this is a difficult time for all parties involved. We’re committed to working with law enforcement and providing any information we have as they determine the facts of the case. Because this is an active investigation, any specific details of the incident should come from law enforcement.
We hire off duty officers to provide security to some of our stores. While we have policies in place for our associates to disengage from situations that might put them or others in harm’s way, off-duty officers working at a WM store are authorized to act in accordance with their department’s code of conduct.”