KNOXVILLE (WATE) – A man who attempted to rob an East Knoxville convenience store early Monday morning was shot and killed by a bystander, according to Knoxville Police Department.
Officers responded to the Breadbox located on the 6200 block of Asheville Highway around 2:35 a.m after receiving a call that shots had been fired.
When officials arrived, they found Tamon J. Stapleton, 18, dead with a gunshot wound. Police say Stapleton, armed with a 9mm handgun, had entered the store and was forcing the female clerk behind the counter at gunpoint.
A male friend of the clerk, who was outside the store in his parked vehicle, witnessed the attempted robbery, retrieved his handgun, entered the store and fired one shot, hitting Stapleton.
WATE 6 On Your Side wanted to find out if that was legal so we reached out to Knox County’s top prosecutor.
“The law in Tennessee as to third party is basically the same as it is to any individual in self defense,” said Knox County District Attorney General Charme P. Allen. “If you walk upon a stranger and you think that stranger is fixing to be hurt, then you can act on behalf of that strange.”
Knoxville police said no other injuries were reported. Officers say the friend will not face any charges because he was acting to protect another citizen. The gun Stapleton used is believed to be stolen and its serial number had been removed.
Officers say this incident was not related to a second robbery also occurred at the Breadbox located on Millertown Pike around 3:30 a.m.