Tobacco shop clerk involved in second shooting

Posted Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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A store clerk facing a murder charge in the shooting of a suspected shoplifter last month in Arlington was among the victims of a Saturday robbery in Fort Worth in which the suspected robber was shot.

Johnathan Brian Lambert, 28, had a gun pointed at him by the alleged robber when another employee of Smokin Dragon Gifts — identified by the store owner as a 46-year-old manager — came to his defense Saturday and shot the gunman, Fort Worth police said.

“Based on the details and evidence that we have in reference to this shooting, we do not plan on filing any charges against the employee that did the shooting,” robbery Sgt. Joe Loughman said Monday.

Lambert had been working at the Smokin Dragon Gifts Arlington location in the 5900 block of South Cooper Street on Nov. 26 when, witnesses told police, it appeared that a 20-year-old customer attempted to steal an item.

The suspected shoplifter was fleeing the store when Lambert shot him, police said. Fuad Babatunde-Oscar died soon afterward at an Arlington hospital.

Lambert was arrested on suspicion of murder based on detectives’ belief that the suspected shoplifter posed no direct threat to the clerk, other employees or customers at the time.

Lambert, who has been free on bail, had not been formally charged in the case as of Monday, court records show.

Tiara Richard, an Arlington police spokeswoman, said Monday that investigators have not yet presented their case to the Tarrant County district attorney’s office.

According to a Fort Worth police report, Lambert was working at the Smokin Dragon’s Fort Worth location at 10621 South Freeway on Saturday when the robbery took place about 6:45 p.m.

Police said Lambert and another employee were in the sales area of the store when they were approached by a man who displayed a gun and demanded money.

“Lambert did have a weapon pointed at him during the robbery,” Loughman said.

Loughman said the manager had been in another area of the store when she became aware of the robbery and came to Lambert’s defense, shooting the robbery suspect.

The robbery suspect, identified in a police report as Christopher John Simmons, 46, suffered a gunshot wound to the right side. He remained hospitalized Monday with injuries not believed to be life-threatening.

Tarrant County records show Simmons has previous convictions for possession of a controlled substance and unlawful possession of a firearm.

Lambert’s lawyer, Justin Sparks, said he could not discuss details of the Nov. 26 incident, “because it is still under investigation and we’re investigating as well.”

But Sparks said Texas law allows the use of deadly force when a robbery occurs in a business. He said Lambert felt justified using deadly force in November.

“Once the investigation is complete and evidence is brought forward, I think everyone will agree,” Sparks said.

The lawyer said both Smokin Dragon Gifts stores “have had more than their fair share of robberies, and several included firearms.”

“This business is repeatedly victimized and there is an obvious need to have a firearm available in the business,” Sparks said.

The owner of both Smokin Dragon Gifts stores said Monday that Lambert is a married father with a young child and is working to support his family. She said she believes he will be cleared of wrongdoing in the Arlington shooting.

“He is an outstanding guy, and he is definitely 100 percent innocent and the evidence will show that,” said the owner, who asked not to be identified.

Staff writer Bill Miller contributed to this report.

Deanna Boyd, 817-390-7655 Twitter: @deannaboyd

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