Walmart employee shot after dispute over unpaid chicken at Neighborhood Market

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PINEVILLE, N.C. — A Walmart Neighborhood Market employee was shot during a fight over an alleged shoplifting attempt Sunday evening at the Pineville location.

The incident happened just before 6:30 p.m. at the store on Pineville-Matthews Road near Kettering Drive. MEDIC said they took one person to the hospital with life-threatening injuries.

Investigators said that was when the employee tried to grab the chicken from Smith, starting a scuffle between them. Other Walmart employees broke up the fight.

The Pineville Police Department said the suspect, 32-year-old Jonathan Alan Smith, was checking out at the self-checkout when a Walmart employee realized he had not scanned his chicken or his dog food.

When the employee brought that to Smith’s attention, Smith paid for the dog food but still didn’t pay for the chicken, police said.

Smith left the store and returned shortly afterward with a gun near his right pocket, police said. Smith went inside the Walmart and confronted several employees, starting another fight between them.

During the fight, police said the gun that Smith had in his pocket fell out, causing everyone involved to try to get control of it. One of the employees was shot in the leg when the gun went off during that scuffle, investigators said.

“Everything was blocked off with yellow caution tape, down to the Staples,” said witness Dylan Alpizar-Cuevas. “All of it was blocked off, and none of the cars could come in.

Linda Smith is a regular customer and knows the victim’s family. She told Channel 9′s Glenn Counts her thoughts are with them.

“They are wonderful people. They are awesome, they will help you with anything. They are just so good,” she said. “I had lost my wallet somewhere, and I came back the next day, and they just go out of the way.”

Smith was taken into custody by police and was charged with assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury and misdemeanor larceny (tied to the chicken).

The shooting victim, who has not been identified, was not seriously hurt, police said.

Police have not identified the employee who was shot. Smith was given a $10,000 bond and posted it on Monday, court records show.

This is a developing story; check back at wsoctv.com for updates.

(WATCH BELOW: Suspect in custody after fire intentionally set at apartment complex, firefighters say)

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