Family sues store, employee after Memphis man accused of shoplifting shot, killed

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The family of an unarmed man, who was shot and killed while allegedly shoplifting at a popular convenience store near the University of Memphis filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the store owners and the employee who is accused of shooting him.  

Memphis Police said Christopher Nettles was shot and killed when he tried to steal $100 worth of merchandise from Scootie’s on Walker Avenue on May 16. 

Police said the store owner’s son locked the doors when Nettles tried to flee with the merchandise, and that an employee, 52-year-old Robert Buie, pulled a gun and told Nettles to get on the floor. Investigators said Nettles refused, and Buie shot him in the chest when he got within 6 feet of him. Police later discovered that Nettles was unarmed and said Buie should not have had the gun because he is a convicted felon.  

Buie told police he was the store’s security guard but didn’t tell officers if he felt like his life was in danger. 

In the lawsuit filed just days ago the defendants listed include Scootie’s, the owner and his son, Robert Buie, and Bell Property Group which owns the store property.  

The lawsuit alleges that all defendants knew, or should have known, that Buie was a convicted felon who unlawfully kept a weapon on the store’s property. The lawsuit also alleges that Buie had mental health problems.  

Buie was charged with second-degree murder after shooting Nettles.  

The family is asking for a jury trial, and $ 35 million in damages.

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