UPDATED: Accused shoplifter shot by constable

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Louisville Metro Police say that an off-duty constable shot a suspected shoplifter at the Walmart in the 7100 block of Raggard Road, off the Greenbelt Highway in southwest Louisville.

The shooting happened outside the store in the parking lot.

"I seen police and I seen just chaos," said shopper Leondria Lee.

Lee and her one-year-old son were shopping when everything unfolded.

"It made me nervous because it could have hit me. The bullet could have hit anybody," Lee told WAVE 3 News.

Others who came to do their weekly shopping were greeted by crime scene tape and swarms of police officers in the parking lot.

"We had no clue what was going on," said shopper Jessica Henderson.

Police say Jefferson County Constable David Whitlock was shopping inside the store, where he also occasionally patrols.

One of the workers told him there was a shoplifter.  That when investigators say Constable Whitlock went to the vehicle in the parking lot and confronted the woman who tried to drive off.

"That vehicle ran over his foot. At that time his service weapon was drawn and a shot was fired that struck that individual in the arm and in the hand," said Dwight Mitchell with LMPD.

The woman who was shot drove herself to the hospital, with non-life-threatening injuries to her arm and hand.

Constable Whitlock went to the hospital to have his foot treated; all while shoppers watched in shock.

"It's pretty crazy, I mean yesterday I drove by a shooting on Preston so it's getting bad," said shopper David Bales.

"Not a typical trip to Wal-Mart at all! Very surprised," Henderson said.

Injuries to both Whitlock and the woman are considered non-life threatening.

Police are continuing their investigation into the shooting. Business was not disrupted at the store during the investigation.

This is not the first time WAVE 3 has covered Constable David Whitlock.

In January of 2007, we talked with Whitlock when serious questions came up in Metro Council about his work.

Whitlock was carrying a gun, pulling people over for traffic violations, was driving a car with flashing lights, and hiring deputies.

All of that was considered unusual for Constables in the Metro, and with little formal training in law enforcement.

At the time, Whitlock told us he felt he was just doing the job he was elected to do.

Many viewers have been asking WAVE 3 what a constable is and what do they do.

Meade County Constable Chris Williams explains.

"The only difference between a Sheriff and a Constable is that a Sheriff collects a taxes and runs elections; that's the two things we don't. We have all aspects of law enforcement power; we do training just like the sheriffs association and everything that they do."

There are nearly 570 Constables in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.   They have to run for election and serve four year terms.

LMPD is primarily investigating the use of force in this case, but is also looking into the shoplifting claims.  Once their investigation wraps up we should learn if there will be any charges filed in this case.

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