MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Shots were fired at a busy and popular East Memphis shooting center, and the person police say pulled the trigger is a security guard.
Security was still patrolling the Erinway Shopping Center and nearby parking lots off Poplar and Erin Drive on Thursday. But police say, things were much more hectic the night before.
Security guard Steven Rodriguez told police he was patrolling the area when he saw a man take a cell phone from another man in the Huey’s parking lot and run eastbound down Poplar.
Rodriguez says he got in his car, picked up the victim and the two started to follow the accused thief until he got to the area of the AT & T store.
He says he got out of the car to confront the man, identified as Alfernee Posey.
Rodriguez says Posey’s hands were in his pockets, and he told him to put his hands up. The security guard claims Posey told him he had a gun, so he fired a warning shot to scare him.
That’s when he says Posey took his hands out of his pockets and was taken into custody.
Chris Fowler, co-owner of Top Brass in Millington, is a retired law enforcement officer and trains security guards. He says the first red flag was the chase away from the shopping center.
“You’re asking for trouble with something like that,” Fowler said. “That’s totally not allowed. We don’t do warning shots. It’s not taught by anybody I know.”
He said he was shocked to hear that the incident occurred.
“Where would you point the gun? At the ground? You could have a ricochet off the asphalt or the concrete. You could injure yourself or someone else,” Fowler said.
Rodriguez is charged with reckless endangerment with a deadly weapon.
As for the man accused of stealing the phone, Posey was given a misdemeanor citation.
We talked to Rodriguez’s boss. He told us Rodriguez is a retired, highly decorated police officer from Puerto Rico where he served for 20 years. He said in Puerto Rico there are different laws.
The shot was fired into the grass and Rodriguez thought he was doing the right thing.