Update: In a statement released on Tuesday by Stockton Mayor Kevin Lincoln, San Joaquin County DA Ron Freitas said "the store clerks are not and have never been suspects" of the DA’s Office and "any investigation going forward is to hold accountable the individual who threatened and attempted to rob the store clerks."
On Saturday, Stockton, California police revealed they are investigating two 7-Eleven store clerks for assault after a video of them beating a would-be robber went viral on the Internet.
In a post on Facebook, the Stockton Police Department said it "was able to combine the investigations of the suspected robberies and suspected assault" because of the "diligence of a witness recording" the event that took place on July 29.
The looter was threatening to shoot the workers and at multiple times appears to pull something out of his back pocket.
The video shared across social media this week showed a man behind the counter shoveling cigarettes into a trash can. As he moved from behind the counter one of the employees grabbed him and held him while the other hit him with a stick. He continued to hit him multiple times while the man was on the ground.
Police said that the man is suspected of committing two other robberies at the same 7-Eleven location within 24 hours of the recorded incident.
In the first incident they said, "On July 28, 2023, at 3:41 a.m., an employee of 7-Eleven reported a suspect entered the business, went behind the counter, and threatened to shoot the victim if he intervened. The suspect then took several packs of cigarettes and other items and placed them in a large garbage bag before fleeing."
Around 12:27 am the next day the report said, "The employee reported the same suspect from the previous incident entered the business and demanded money while simulating having a handgun. The employee did not comply; therefore, the suspect grabbed several food items and placed them in a garbage bag before fleeing."
The man who filmed the video told WABI that he fears that things would have been worse if he wasn't there to try to calm the situation. The man, who identified himself as "Deba," said he told them, "No, there’s nothing we can do. There’s nothing you can do. Just let him take it and just go" as the man was stealing stuff."
"I’m trying to feel it out. My job is to make it home. … Hopefully, everyone learns in this situation to be in a better mindset next time," he said. After the man started to hit the thief, the man said he "had to get really stern with my words. ‘It’s enough,’ so they kind of stopped.”
"I’m narrating the situation: ‘He doesn’t have a gun. He’s all right. Are you done? Are you done? Are you done? Now it’s time for everyone to go. … He needs to go and you guys need to stop," the man added.
What Deba did not appear to mention is the moment in the video when he seemingly taunted the attempted looter. As the 7-Eleven store clerks were beating the man, Deba appeared to repeat, "That's called whoopin' your ass. That's called whoopin' your ass."
The men were praised on social media for taking matters into their own hands to stop the man after criminals have been terrorizing retailers due to soft-on crime policies across the country.
According to Neighborhood Scout, Stockton is only safer than 3 percent of US neighborhoods, with a crime rate of 46.22 incidents per 1,000 residents. In Stockton, you have a 1 in 79 chance of being a victim of a violent crime while in the state of California, you have a 1 in 227 chance.
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