Nashville, TN – An 88-year-old liquor store owner has been charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon for shooting a man who she said lunged at her while trying to steal from her business.
“I did what I had to do, and I hope word gets out on the street that I’m fed up and I’m not taking it anymore,” May Boyce told the New York Post after she was released on $10,000 bond. “You’ve got to stick up for yourself sometimes.”
Boyce said that she has been robbed multiple times while working at her shop, Murfreesboro Road Liquor and Wines, but said the past four years have been especially bad.
Since taking over ownership of the store in 1994, she’s been working six days each week.
The five-foot-three, 115-pound widow was at work on June 16 when two men came into the store, the New York Post reported.
One of the men walked behind the counter and began helping himself to bottles, while the second man approached her “in a manner that she knew” indicated he was planning to steal from her, The Charlotte Observer reported.
Undeterred, Boyce grabbed the .38 Smith & Wesson snub-nose revolver that had belonged to her mother and placed the gun on the counter, according to the New York Post.
According to Boyce’s arrest affidavit, one of the suspects told the other man, later identified as Ramon Fisher, to grab him some brown liquor, so Fisher helped himself to a couple of bottles of Crown Royal whiskey.
Fisher later allegedly told police that he was under the influence of cocaine and alcohol at the time of the incident, the New York Post reported.
When Boyce confronted Fisher, he allegedly “lunged” at her and nearly shoved her to the ground, she said.
He then made a dash for the exit with the bottles tucked under his arm, she told the New York Post.
“Ms. Boyce stated that she pointed the gun towards the ground, in the victim’s direction, and fired once,” police said in the arrest affidavit, according to The Charlotte Observer. “The victim yelled out that he had been shot and fell into a stack of bottles.”
Fisher stumbled into a display case of wine, sending everything crashing to the floor, the New York Post reported.
His accomplice got him out of the store and to Vanderbilt Hospital, where he was later interviewed by police.
According to investigators, Fisher confessed that he went into Boyce’s store with the intent of stealing bottles of liquor from her, the New York Post reported.
He later recanted his story, and claimed that the second suspect planned to pay for the items.
According to police, Fisher also claimed he was simply walking towards the exit when Boyce shot him in the back for no reason, The Charlotte Observer reported.
He is expected to recover from his wounds.
When police arrived to speak with Boyce, she volunteered to go with them to the station to explain what had occurred, she told the New York Post.
“I went down, got my mugshot taken, got out on bond and came right back to the store,” she recounted. “I got some people to help me but it took us to 1 a.m. to clean up all the wine that spilled everywhere.”
May Boyce is free on $10,000 bond on a charge of aggravated assault for shooting a man Tuesday night who she thought was a thief in her Murfreesboro Pike liquor store. The victim is recovering. pic.twitter.com/WUnZYZ6z80
— Metro Nashville PD (@MNPDNashville) June 18, 2020
Boyce said she does not regret defending herself, but said she is frustrated that police seized her mother’s revolver from her.
She said investigators told her she might not get the weapon back for a couple of years.
“I told ‘em, s–t, I might be dead by then,” Boyce told the New York Post. “But, the law’s the law.”
Boyce noted that she fired the weapon in order to frighten Fisher.
“I never shot a gun before, but I guess it’s something that comes natural. I aimed at the floor to scare him,” she said. “I did what I had to do. After you’ve been played for a fool by people stealin’ from you for years, you get fed up.”
“And don’t put me in the category of a little old lady,” she added. “I know how to take care of myself.”
Boyce already wears a wrist brace due to an injury she suffered during another robbery two months ago, her friend, Carson Burch, said in a Facebook post on June 18.
In that instance, someone shoved her to the ground.
“She is a sweet old lady who minds her own business,” Burch wrote. “She opens this liquor store up every single day by herself, and she closes it down every night by herself.”
Burch said that prior to the shooting, he and Boyce spoke about “how she is afraid to defend herself against would-be thieves because of what has been transpiring” throughout the country as of late.
According to police records, officers have been called to Boyce’s liquor store approximately 180 times over the past five years, WZTV reported.
Sixty-eight of those calls involved allegations of burglary or theft.
“She’s a sweet lady,” longtime customer Chris Calvo told WZTV. “You won’t know she’s tough until you do something wrong, obviously.”
Boyce told the news outlet that she refuses to live in fear.
“I’m tired of being scared. I ain’t gonna be scared no more,” she said emphatically.
Boyce’s next hearing is scheduled for Monday.