Gwinnett County

Walmart loss prevention officer killed pursuing suspected shoplifter

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — Police are searching for an accused shoplifter who shot and killed a Loss Prevention Officer at Walmart Sunday night. %



It happened at the discount retail store on Lawrenceville Highway in Lilburn just after 9 p.m.

The victim was identified as Jay Ferguson, 25. His family says the father of three had big dreams, including becoming a Fulton County police officer.

“It’s still hitting me every hour that he’s gone,” Ferguson’s sister, Abreanna Ferguson, said.

Surveillance video inside the store shows the suspect pushing a cart out of the store with three TVs. Officers say when Ferguson confronted him about not paying for the flat screens, the man pulled a gun and shot him in the stomach.

“He was stopped, asked for his receipt. He said he didn't have one. They said, ‘Come back in, we'll get you a receipt.’ He then said, ‘I don't want the receipt and I don’t want the TVs anymore,’” said Lilburn police Capt. Thom Bardugan.

Several people were inside the store when the shooting happened.

Police say the suspect, who is bald and was wearing dark pants, left in a red four door-door car.

Ferguson was rushed to the hospital, where he died. %



“This whole thing is just senseless,” said Ferguson’s mother, Falesa Nash.

Nash wept as she spoke about the man who shot and killed her oldest son.

“I'd like for him to know that he's taken away a good loving son, father, friend,” Nash said. “He was just the most loving, caring person.”

Ferguson’s father, David Nash, says that on the job, his son was unarmed, unlike his killer.

“He had every intention of doing something. He went in with a weapon, and my son, as courageous as he was, he encountered him and it happened, but it shouldn't have,” David Nash said.

Victoria Lagunas was inside the Walmart store when he heard the gunshots.

“That's something that's going to be with me forever,” Lagunas said. “He had been shot and he was bleeding and people were running in all kind of directions.”

Lagunas said she and her husband wanted to help, but employees at the store didn’t know if the shooter would come back.

“A Walmart employee told us to back away because they didn’t know if there were going to be any other shots fired,” Lagunas said.

Heartbroken over hearing Ferguson’s death, Lagunas said she wants the killer caught.

“It's just sad how there's people out there that just in order to get whatever they want ... . they'll go through everything and anyone,” Lagunas said.

The Lilburn Walmart issued the following statement Monday:

"We are deeply saddened by the senseless and tragic loss of our friend and colleague last night. Our heartfelt thoughts and prayers are with the Ferguson family at this difficult time. We will continue to support law enforcement in their ongoing investigation."

Many of the officers at Lilburn police knew Ferguson because of their frequent calls to Walmart.

A GoFundMe account has been set up to assist Ferguson's family.

Police say they have received several tips, but are still waiting for the one that positively ID’s the shooter.

If you have any information about the man in the surveillance photo, call Crime Stoppers at 404-577-8477.

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