Walmart has confirmed that an off-duty officer they hired to patrol a Houston Walmart shot and killed a woman suspected of shoplifting.
The off duty Harris County Sheriff’s deputy killed Shelly Frey, a 27-year-old mother of two as she allegedly sped off in a car. Frey was a passenger in the car.
Frey’s mother tells KHOU that there were also “two small children” in the car at the time of the shooting but they were not Frey’s children.
“Shelly was the perfect mom, perfect friend, perfect daughter,” said her father, Shelton Frey.
Frey said the 27-year-old mother of two had moved to Houston after Hurricane Katrina to start a new life. He said she was limited by how much she could work because of a 2-year-old girl with sickle cell anemia.
After a cousin called to tell them what happened, Frey’s parents drove straight from New Orleans.
The parents said they were never contacted by investigators and that they were not allowed to see their daughter’s body. She was the oldest of three children.
“I can’t eat, I can’t sleep—I just need to know,” her mother Sharon Wilkerson said.
Wilkerson said she also needs to know why the deputy took the shot he did.
“Why couldn’t you just shoot the tire, shoot the window?” she asked. “Was it that serious?”
“This is a tragic situation and we recognize this is a difficult time for all parties involved. We’re committed to working with law enforcement and providing any information we have as they determine the facts of the case. Because this is an active investigation, any specific details of the incident should come from law enforcement.
We hire off duty officers to provide security to some of our stores. While we have policies in place for our associates to disengage from situations that might put them or others in harm’s way, off-duty officers working at a WM store are authorized to act in accordance with their department’s code of conduct.”
Both women who survived the shooting have been charged with crimes. The deputy that shot Frey is on three days paid leave.
The Harris County Sheriff’s Homicide Unit, Office of the Inspector General and the Harris County District Attorney’s Office will investigate this incident. The case will be turned over to a grand jury.