Des Moines, IA – A Des Moines woman who was assaulted during a “totally unprovoked attack” at a grocery store on Sunday ended up shooting the suspect in self-defense, according to police.
The incident occurred at the Hy-Vee grocery store on Euclid Avenue at approximately 10 a.m. on June 19, KGAN reported.
Police said the unidentified victim was pushing a cart full of groceries when she was suddenly “blindsided, beat up, and put in a headlock,” according to KCCI.
The suspect was later identified as 30-year-old Kapri Lashawn Francis.
The two women knew each other and were involved in another incident on June 16 that is still under investigation, but police said the attack on Sunday was “totally unprovoked,” according to KCCI.
Police said the victim pulled out her legally-owned firearm during the assault and fired one round at Francis in self-defense, KGAN reported.
The bullet struck Francis in the leg, then either traveled through her or ricocheted, striking a male customer in his foot, according to FOX News.
“The preliminary investigation of this incident indicates that the suspect and one of the victims were involved in a spontaneous dispute within the store prior to the shooting,” the Des Moines Police Department (DMPD) said in a press release, according to KGAN. “The second victim appears to have been injured by a ricochet bullet or debris.”
Francis and the bystander who was shot both suffered non-life-threatening injuries, police said.
Francis has since been charged with assault causing injury, KGAN reported.
“This was something spontaneous that unfortunately happened in that grocery store where a lot of people were grocery shopping this morning,” Des Moines Police Sergeant Paul Parizek said, according to FOX News. “We’ve certainly got a high level of awareness and preparedness for these things…There was a heavy police presence, responding with the thought that we need to save people.”
Defense attorney Katherine Sears said it is unlikely the woman who fired the bullet will face criminal charges.
“Iowa law allows for the use of reasonable force to stop someone from hurting you, or someone else and that includes deadly force under certain circumstances,” Sears told KCCI. “There’s a statute that says that a person who reasonably uses force as authorized by that chapter is immune from criminal or civil liability for any damages caused in the exercise of that force.”
Iowa Firearms Coalition Spokesperson John McLaughlin agreed.
“If you’re clearly having your life threatened and the next second your choked out and could have your firearm used against you then certainly, it’s appropriate,” McLaughlin told KCCI.