Independence teacher helps apprehend shoplifting suspect

Posted at 8:07 PM, Mar 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-20 23:18:22-04

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — An Independence math teacher is being called a real-life hero for helping detain a shoplifting suspect and preventing him from getting ahold of a gun.

Seconds after T.J. Barnet walked into the Price Chopper off of Noland Road Sunday, he immediately knew something was wrong.

"You could hear some raised voices," he told 41 Action News.

By the sliding glass doors, two store loss prevention officers were struggling to put a man into handcuffs.

"I could tell he was kind of resisting fighting back and trying to get out of their grasp. There were two of them but he was a bigger guy and so I figured I would walk my way over there and see if there was anything I could do to help," said Barnet.

As he walked over, Barnet said he noticed a female employee holding a gun that allegedly had been confiscated from the man.

"You could tell it wasn't hers and wasn't something to be holding," said Barnet. "I hear her in a surprised tone scream, 'excuse me,' and I look over and she is circling away from a guy trying to keep the gun away from him as he is reaching from it.

Without hesitation, Barnet jumped into action.

"I just kind of grabbed him by the chest and I just drove him backwards. We hit one of those sliding glass doors and it fell off the hinges and then we just came down to the ground and I landed on top of him. I crawled up and just sat on his stomach and pinned one of his shoulders down to the ground and said, 'we're not going to get up until the cops get here," he said.

Independence police arrived minutes later. Officers arrested the two suspected shoppers and confiscated the gun.

"In that scenario, I kind of assessed it and thought I should help, someone should do something and I guess it will be me," said Barnet.