A 31-year-old Min Sik Kim Spanaway convenience store owner has been sentenced to eight years in prison for fatally shooting a man he suspected
of shoplifting. He had pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.
KOMO-TV reports , Min Kim told the judge on Friday he accepted responsibility for what he did and apologized for his actions.
On March 25, 2016, Kim went outside to tell a group of men loitering outside his store to leave. Video surveillance from inside the store shows that while Kim was outside, a man later identified as Jakeel Rashon Mason, 21, attempted to steal cigarettes from behind the counter. As Kim re-enters the store, surveillance video shows Kim with a handgun in his right hand. Kim points the gun at Mason and physically grabs Mason and forces him further into the store. Mason puts both hands up and is not resisting. Kim then holsters the gun before punching Mason in the face. The two men engage in a physical fight where both men exchange punches. Kim gets taken to the floor by Mason as both men continue to fight for several seconds.
The video shows Mason was able to free himself and attempted to flee the store. Kim stood up and removed the firearm from the holster, positioned himself behind Mason, raised the gun, and shot Mason twice in the back as Mason fled. Mason collapsed in the doorway and died before medical aid arrived.
Prosecutors asked for a sentence of a little more than 10 years, while Kim’s attorney asked the court for a sentence of just two years, saying he was still distraught because of his wife’s shooting at the time of Mason’s death.
Judge John Hickman agreed it was a tough situation, but said deadly force was not warranted. Kim said he would accept whatever was handed to him. But, the reality of a prison term was painful for his family. Kim asked the judge for permission to write a letter of apology to Mason’s family. Most often there are no-contact orders with family, but the judge granted that request.