TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - The Tucson Police Department says a man was shot and killed after witnesses saw him rob a Circle K on Grant and Oracle on Sunday.
It happened around 2:30 p.m. Sgt. Pete Dugan said a man followed the shoplifting suspect, 46-year-old Gerald Ramon, out of the Circle K after he had tried to steal some items.
The shooter says Ramon confronted him while wielding a large branch. As Ramon advanced, the armed citizen pulled out his handgun and shot him.
Ramon was transported to Banner University Medical Center, where he later died.
On Monday afternoon, Ramon's family member set up a memorial at the scene on the 400 block of Grant. His cousin Vanita says he did not deserve to die.
"I'm fighting with sadness, the loss of him," Vanita said. "But then again I'm pretty angry. I'm pretty upset about what happened and who did this to him."
Vanita says Ramon is a father of two, and she doesn't believe the shooting was justified.
Nine On Your Side spoke to a Tucson defense attorney about the investigation. Louis Fidel says these types of cases can be tricky.
"These cases are always tricky because they do involve fact specific questions," Fidel said. "The specific facts about what happened in a given situation will determine whether or not someone was justified."
Fidel says those questions include what is going on in the moment, and whether or not the person who pulled the trigger is faced with the type of crime that justifies the use of deadly force. You take a lot of responsibility when you decide to carry a firearm, Fidel says, so should be trained and know Arizona gun laws.
"You can use deadly physical force in some circumstances," Fidel said. "If you are faced with deadly physical force, you can defend yourself with physical force."
While Fidel is not associated with this case, he weighed in on what he would argue if he was representing Ramon's family.
"I would be concerned with about how something that started with something as simple as stealing beer, as I understand it, would up being my family member dead," Fidel said.
When it comes to defending the shooter, Fidel says the shooting may have been justified.
"Based on what I've read and what I've been told, that he was justified," Fidel said. "That he was faced with a scenario where he was authorized to use deadly physical force based on what was going on, and what he had been threatened with."
Tucson Police say the armed citizen is cooperating with police. No word yet on whether or not he will face charges as the investigation continues. Once the investigation is complete, the Pima County Attorney's Office will decide it criminal charges should be filed.