Shoplifting suspect fires gun during fight with 7-Eleven employees

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SAN DIEGO -- A 20-year-old man was behind bars Friday after allegedly firing a gun while struggling with employees after trying to shoplift from a 7-Eleven store in Serra Mesa.

The owner of the convenience store at the corner of Sandrock Road and Hammond Drive spotted Branden Garcia and an unidentified woman stuffing merchandise into their clothing shortly before 8:30 p.m. Thursday, San Diego police Officer Robert Heims said.

The proprietor asked the pair if they intended to pay for the items and an argument ensued. The suspects left the store, but the owner and two employees were close behind, according to the officer.

Garcia allegedly punched the owner in the face before the two other employees tackled him. Heims said that at some point Garcia pulled a gun and fired a shot, but no one was hurt.

A bystander removed the firearm from Garcia's hand, and he was held until police arrived, Heims said.

Garcia was subsequently arrested. The woman with him was briefly detained and questioned, but was ultimately let go, according to Heims.

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