An attempt to steal a pair of shoes from Sportsman's Warehouse turned into a wild melee outside the store when the shoplifter reportedly bit, head-butted and even tried to pull a gun on employees and customers who tried to stop him.
"As out of control as the situation was, it could have been a lot worse," Medford police Lt. Mike Budreau said.
Medford police arrived at the outdoor store at 1710 Delta Waters Road at about 4 p.m. Thursday to find six employees and two customers detaining a suspected shoplifter on the ground just outside the store's front doors, Lt. Mike 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. Davis then immediately tripped and fell to the ground outside. Two employees stepped in to detain him, but he continued to try to get away, fighting 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 separate employees, causing minor injuries, police said.
More store 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 and searched him, they located 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."
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 remains lodged in Jackson County Jail on $1,034,000 bail.
Store employees suspect 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.
The headline on this story has been changed.
— Mandy Valencia