13-year-old girl shoots shop owners that caught her shoplifting

Posted at 5:31 PM, Jul 20, 2016

BELLEFONTAINE NEIGHBORS, Mo. (AP) — A 13-year-old suburban St. Louis girl shot and critically wounded a couple who had let her go with a warning earlier that day after catching her and a friend trying to steal from their beauty shop, authorities said Wednesday.

The girl, accompanied by her family, surrendered to the police on Wednesday, Bellefontaine Neighbors police Chief Jeremy Ihler said. He declined to release her name or that of the victims, who are in their 70s and whose child owns the store, King's Beauty Supply.

According to police, the couple caught the girl and a friend trying to shoplift on Tuesday and kicked them out of the store. They recovered the items — believed to hair extensions — and didn't report the incident.

The girls returned later that day, though, and the couple called police, who found the girls in an adjacent parking lot. Officers detained one of the girls on a previous juvenile warrant and released the other, with the couple's approval, police said. Investigators believe the girl who was released returned later and shot the couple. A witness reported seeing her enter the store and emerge a short time later, running with a revolver in her hand, police said.

"I'm speechless that it was a 13-year-old girl with a handgun," Ihler said.

Police searched for the girl after the shooting, but their dogs lost her scent in a wooded area between the store and a residential area. Before she surrendered Wednesday, police had warned that she should be considered armed and dangerous.

The couple often worked at the beauty shop, even though they speak Korean and their English isn't great, authorities said.

"They're very forgiving people," Ihler said. "The phrase, 'No good deed goes unpunished' fits right here."