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Image courtesy Roseville, MI Police

An armed customer wasn’t quick enough to prevent alleged transient junkie Joshua Silva, above, from sticking a Home Depot loss prevention employee in the hand with a dirty needle, but the un-named Samaritan didn’t even have to fire a shot to stop the attack. 

From the Detroit Free Press:

Roseville Police Chief James Berlin said that Silva claimed he is addicted to heroin, but it is not believed he was on the drug at the time of the assault.

Berlin said Silva began to fight with store loss prevention officers in the parking lot when they tried to apprehend him for stuffing a $179 battery-powered drill under his coat. Silva pulled a concealed syringe from his jacket and used it as a weapon, swinging it around in a slashing motion, police said.

They said he stabbed one of the officers several times with the contaminated needle. Berlin said the victim had more than five puncture wounds on the top of his hand.

A customer with a concealed pistol license saw the fight, pulled out his handgun and told Silva to drop the syringe and get on the ground. Silva stopped fighting and sat down in the parking lot, police said, but jumped up and ran when he heard approaching police sirens. The loss prevention officers allowed him to run and police officers arrested him without further incident.

Silva is being held on $25,000 bail, and faces 10 years in prison for retail fraud and Assault With Intent To Do Great Bodily Harm.

It’s too bad he wasn’t a few seconds quicker, but drawing your gun too quickly in a DGU can buy you just as many regrets as drawing it too late. Particularly if you’re intervening on behalf of a stranger.

LEOs have learned to be exceptionally careful when dealing with ‘sharps’ such as hypodermics. Knife wounds can certainly cause nasty infections, but syringes are purpose-built to deliver their cargo of drugs (or bacteria, or viruses) deep beneath the skin. Some infections are curable; others are not.

So lets add ‘junkies with syringes’ to the list of reasons to remember the 21-foot rule.

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  1. Glad it worked out well for all concerned. I’m sure the injured loss prevention officer will become great friends with his Workman’s Comp rep in the coming months.

    • And AZT and a bunch of other anti-retrovirals.

      I have a number of friends who are cops in Vancouver. Given the heroin epedemic, and the lax standards practiced by the needle “exchange”, a Vancouver cop is MUCH more likely to get stuck with a needle than to get shot on the job. At any given time there are a couple out on leave sitting at home being stuffed full of drugs to prevent Hep C and AIDS.

  2. I don’t know what Home Depot’s policies are but at most retail companies once the suspect leaves the building it’s a police matter.

    • In many cases the crime of shoplifting does not technically occur until the thief has by-passed the cashier and left the store. That’s why the electronic guards stand near the doors. Until the thief leaves the building guards are often prevented from apprehending, and even in the parking lot they are still on the business property. If the shoplifter gets off the property, then they must leave apprehension to the police.

    • Loss prevention officers are specifically trained and tasked to act as pseudo cops. They have the authority to detain and search when on company property.

    • There’s a local place called Diamond Pawn Shop here in Houston that must not have gotten the memo. Yesterday, six, count them, six, masked, armed robbers stormed the pawn shop and proceeded to smash and grab. After five minutes of that, the scene shifted to the parking lot.

      There, the pawn shop’s 19 year old security guard exchanged gunfire with the robbers as they fled in their stolen truck, while the pawn shop’s owner proceeded to give chase in his own car until the suspects ditched the truck for another stashed car and got away. Eventually the police were called in, but no suspects have been captured as yet.

  3. Man, loss prevention is such a rip off for the people doing it. When I worked security I would have nothing to do with it. Saw a young guy wrestle a shoplifter to the ground outside a K Mart. During the fight he was severely bitten on the thumb. After the bg was cuffed and stuffed by the pd he was doing the happy whoop whoop chest bump dance at his victory.

    Until I reminded him about AIDS and Hepititus. Potentially wrecked his life to protect K Marts interest for barely above minimum wage.

    • forget aids and hepatitis… that nasty bite could have left him zombified. o_O
      world war z has forever changed my world view.
      need to start incorporating hornady’s zombie max ammo into my edc.

        • I like zombie movies, always have. As zombie movies go World War Z wasn’t all that bad. But I have a deep seated hatred of anything that unashamedly bends their source material over a table and has their way with it.

        • ah, now i understand where you’re coming from. not having read the book, the movie seemed great to me. i’m definitely going to get my hands on the book and see how the two compare.

        • Yeah I think the biggest issue people have is that the novel was really good but the movie adaptation had basically nothing to do with the book except that there are zombies.

        • LOL. i don’t think i’ve ever laughed so much while reading a venn diagram. ironically the only part of the movie i didn’t like was the fact that brad pitt was in it.

          since we’re on this zombie tangent, let me pose a question to you all:

          what it is about the zombie culture that’s so appealing to (some) gun enthusiasts. i see zombie targets, zombie ammo, and i even see zombie guns. i’ve been a gun owner for less than a year and i totally don’t get the obsession.

  4. My only near-DGU in almost 10 years of carry involved a syringe…

    I worked in-home services for many years and was waiting on a doorstep in North St. Louis when some crazy cracked out lady came up to me screaming about moving my truck (not mine). Probably was withing 5 feet when I realized she had a syringe in her hand, and I kicked her in the chest so she tumbled backwards down the steps into the street. I didn’t draw my gun but I had my hand on it and was yelling that I would kill her if she came at me again. She muttered to herself and went across the street.

    I think about that conflict constantly, she could have easily stuck me as I let her get way too close, and kicking her was definitely less than ideal. I worked that job another 3-4 years and never let anybody get inside my circle like that again.

    • Dirk,

      You shouldn’t have to worry about it too much longer … at the rate that armed good people are taking out bad guys there won’t be any bad guys left in the near future. It seems like good people are taking down about 3 bad guys per week on average in the greater Detroit metropolitan area.

  5. I’m sure as h##l not intervening in a shoplifting altercation. Especially at K Mart. I’ll step up when I see someone accosting a woman or someone old- like me.

  6. Does anyone wonder about the sudden influx of heroin to our country? Why so many recent ODs? Where is it coming from? What can be done about it? Is it reminiscent of the 1970s?

    • Look for an anti illegal drug democrat that owes money and you’ll find the source of the unregistered drugs.

    • I work in probation and we’ve seen a massive uptick in heroin use and possession. From what I’ve researched and heard, most of it is due to the hospitals and clinics over-prescribing opiate medications (vicodin, morphine, tylenol with codeine, oxy etc). People go in for a surgery, come out with 120 vicodins. Someone goes to the ER, well here’s a shot of morphine and 30 vicodins. The problem is when people with no insurance run out, they turn to heroin. Or if they take these drugs for too long, they build up a tolerance and need heroin to get relief. Since this has been going on for years in the healthcare field, it’s made the market for heroin explode in the last two years.

    • this.

      oh! and signs! can’t forget the signs!
      speaking of signs, did the home depot have any signs proclaiming that the store was a shoplift-free zone?
      if not, they only brought this upon themselves.

  7. Any druggie coming at me with a hypodermic needle is gonna get about 1,260 grains of .40 JHP. I’ve had friends who were bitten or exposed to contaminated blood. AZT treatment is harsh. Hepatitis is nasty, and LA may very well have a brand new disease which I don’t care to contract. No thanks.

  8. “Knife wounds can cause nasty infections”
    I assume most of you carry a knife as well as a firearm, be are you clean it often as it will become dirty and acquire tons of bacteria even when not in use

    • If it’s a defensive knife use I’m not sure I care. If I’m using it for anything “cleaner” than opening a box it gets an alcohol wipe.

    • I ain’t cleaning no knife. If I have to resort to using my knife, I want that thing to be as rusty and nasty as I can get it.

      Also, if I ever have to defend myself, I’m going to take the bad guy’s money (if any). Ammo ain’t cheap, and he just bought it (pun intended).

  9. peirsonb, wiping it down is good, I’ve known a couple guys who’ve cut themselves with their knife and wound up with really nasty infections (flesh eating bacteria in one case). I use my knives for a lot of tasks so cleaning it every couple of weeks is a priority for me

  10. Attempting to assist a friend who is a loss prevention guy in subduing a particularly nasty perp I kicked the offender in the head, chest and arm multiple times each. I explained this to the responding cops who pretty well said that the knife he was attempting to draw (it was still in his pants pocket) was reason enough to shoot him, let alone justify kicking him a few times. YMMV but it seems to me that cops don’t have much sympathy for thieves and I wonder how it is that this one was able to get up and run away.


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