Police say a Medford man head-butted, bit and tried to pull a gun on employees of a sporting goods store Thursday, after they chased him down when he allegedly tried to steal a $40 pair of shoes.
Medford police arrived at Sportsman's Warehouse at 1710 Delta Waters Road at about 4 p.m. to find six employees and two customers detaining a suspected shoplifter on the ground outside the store, Medford police Lt. Mike Budreau said.
"As out of control as the situation was, it could have been a lot worse," Budreau said.
A store employee told police he had seen Shigh Anthone Davis, 19, of Medford, grab a pair of $40 shoes and run out the door. After Davis tripped and fell to the ground, two employees stepped in to detain him, but he fought with those holding him down, police reported.
"They did various things to detain him, but he had a lot of fight in him," Budreau said.
Davis head-butted and bit two employees, causing minor injuries, police said.
More employees and two bystanders joined in the struggle to hold the suspect, police said.
During the fight, Davis kept reaching for his waistband and threatening to kill everyone, Budreau said.
A female security guard on scene had handcuffs and employees were able to cuff Davis before police arrived.
When police arrested Davis, they found a loaded 9 mm handgun in his waistband. Witnesses told police they suspect that Davis was trying to get the gun during the struggle, but was not able to.
"This is a situation that certainly could have turned out much different, without the help from all the employees," Budreau said. "I don't think they realize how close they came to a very violent situation."
A manager at Sportsman's Warehouse said employees could not comment and referred calls to corporate headquarters. A call there was not returned Friday.
Davis was arrested on charges of first-degree robbery, first-degree theft, unlawfully carrying a concealed weapon, two counts each of third-degree disorderly conduct and fourth-degree assault, and four counts of harassment. He remained lodged in Jackson County Jail Friday on $1,034,000 bail.
Store employees told police they suspected Davis had stolen some ammunition the day before, Budreau said.
Police are still trying to determine where Davis got the gun.
"He claims he found the gun on the bike path somewhere, but he probably got it by some other means," Budreau said.
Reach reporter Mandy Valencia at 541-776-4486 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.