Smokin Dragon Gifts, with its wide array of smokes and smoking accessories, including a delightful selection of novelty pipes (see: Mario, Angry Birds, the "Despicable Me" minions) and a presumably high percentage of cash transactions, might seem like an ideal target for the criminally inclined.
Bad idea. Robbers and shoplifters run an exceptionally high risk of being shot. Twice in three weeks, this head shop's employees have gunned down would-be thieves.
The first incident happened two days before Thanksgiving at Smokin Dragon's Arlington location. Police say that Jonathan Brian Lambert, a 28-year-old clerk, opened fire at an unarmed shoplifter as he fled across the parking lot. The alleged shoplifter, identified as 20-year-old Fuad Babatunde-Oscar, died of his wounds.
Lambert was arrested for murder, though formal charges have not yet been filed.
Incident number two came over the weekend at Smokin Dragon's Fort Worth shop. Lambert, who was released on bail shortly after his arrest last month, was working at the location on Saturday when a robber pointed a gun at him and another clerk and demanded property, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
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The store's manager, who is not identified in the Star-Telegram's report, grabbed a gun and came to Lambert's aid and shot the suspect, who police have identified as 46-year-old Christopher John Simmons. Simmons was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
Lambert's lawyer, Justin Sparks, used the incident to bolster his case that the November shooting was justified.
Smokin Dragon Gifts has "had more than their fair share of robberies and several included firearms," he told the Star-Telegram. "This business is repeatedly victimized and there is an obvious need to have a firearm available in the business."
Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.