INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A gas station clerk followed a shoplifter outside a convenience store and gas station, and shot him in the parking lot, according to court documents.
Vincent Bibbs, 49, has been charged with the murder of 49-year-old Damon McClain.
Officers with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department were dispatched to the Speedway gas station at 4960 E. 56th St. just before 11:30 p.m. June 29.
Officers arrived to find McClain in a vehicle. He had been shot in the head. He was declared deceased on the scene at 11:35 p.m.
Witnesses told police they saw the clerk, identified as Bibbs, follow a man carrying a bag outside of the store to the parking lot.
IMPD detectives say surveillance video shows McClain placing several cases of Red Bull into a plastic trash bag before leaving through the front door. Bibbs can be seen following McClain outside.
In an interview with police, Bibbs initially denied having any interaction with McClain, according to court documents. Detectives say Bibbs told them he never shot anyone, had a gun or heard shots.
Bibbs later admitted to police “messed up by going outside,” telling detectives that store management told him not to let shoplifters leave the store. He said tried to lock McClain in the store but wasn’t able to.
He said a struggle occurred in the parking lot and his gun went off. Bibbs said he then went back in the store, waited on two customers, then called 911.
Bibbs faces an additional charge of carrying a handgun without a license.
His initial appearance in court took place on Tuesday. He’s due back in court for a pretrial conference in September.
News 8 requested surveillance video from the gas station, but the prosecutor’s office said it won’t be released until the case is introduced on the record.
State representatives calls on stores with security issues to close early
Indiana state Rep. Ed Delaney said Bibbs was doing what he thought was right.
“In my mind, it’s reassuring that there’s still people who feel strongly enough about honesty and about their job that they’ll try to protect the property or their owner from theft or misconduct,” Delaney said Thursday.
The Democrat from Indianapolis said if gas stations and convenience stores have a history of crime and can’t provide adequate security, they should not be allowed to stay open late. It’s a model he said is already working in other states.
“The high-end convenience stores, they have bright lights, multiple staff; they’re open 24 hours; they don’t let people loiter in the parking lot; they know how to do it. The problem is the low-end convenience stores in the tougher neighborhoods just don’t want to spend the money on safety but want the revenue they can get,” Delaney said.
So far, all of Delaney’s efforts to change security requirements through proposed laws have not been successful, but he said, because of increased crime, he will push harder.
“It’s getting a little too dangerous out there. This is one where we can pass effective regulation on legislation. The governor doesn’t need my help, he can put regulation in right now, but he hasn’t done that,” Delaney said.