Gas station owner faces murder charge after shooting alleged thief, deputies say

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The man who was shot by a store owner after attempting to steal beer has passed away from his injuries, Polk County investigators announced Monday morning.

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office says Rennie Defoe Jr., 43, died following Tuesday’s shooting. The shooter, deputies said, now faces a murder charge following Defoe’s death.

"[Defoe] didn't commit any sort of violent crime. He shoplifted some beer, went out to his car. Of course that's a crime and it should have been reported to law enforcement immediately," said Carrie Horstman, a spokesperson for the sheriff's office. "You can't take justice into your own hands at this point, arm yourself with a weapon and run out after someone and shoot them when they commit a retail theft."

Last week, deputies identified the shooter as Mehedeun Hasan, 22, of Lakeland, who co-owns the Shell gas station with his 61-year-old father.

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On Tuesday night, Defoe was seen in surveillance video entering the convenience store at 135 Combee Road North in Lakeland, grabbing three 18-packs of Natural Ice beer, and walking out. The total cost of the beer was $36.

Hasan grabbed a handgun and confronted Dehoe outside of the store, investigators said. As Defoe was reversing from his parking spot, Hasan fired his handgun.