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Lodi store owner jailed

Faces felony charge after shooting suspected thief

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Gurminder ‘Gary’ Parmar

Posted: Thursday, May 31, 2012 12:00 am | Updated: 11:04 am, Wed Jun 6, 2012.

A Lodi liquor store owner is behind bars and facing a felony charge of assault with a deadly weapon after police say he shot a man fleeing his store with a case of stolen beer.

Gurminder "Gary" Parmar, 48, fired one round at the suspected beer thief, Christopher Driggers, striking him between the shoulder and neck on Tuesday night.

Parmar remains in custody and Driggers, 21, a Lodi High School grad serving with the U.S. Army, was treated and released at Lodi Memorial Hospital.

Parmar's wife, Satnam Parmar, said she had not seen her husband since his arrest early Wednesday morning.

She was working alone at the liquor store Wednesday afternoon. She and her husband are the only ones who work there, and she also had to watch over their 10-year-old and 12-year-old, who were sitting in the back of the store Wednesday, watching television.

Satnam Parmar said her husband purchased the handgun that he used to shoot Driggers after Parmar was robbed at gunpoint by a suspected gang member in January 2011.

That suspect, Marcos Martinez, was later arrested on charges of first-degree robbery.

The gun was meant to be used for protection, Satnam Parmar said.

"I am very upset," she said when asked about the incident. "I have no idea how he is doing. We have no other employees, it is just us."

Police offered this account of the incident:

At approximately 9:49 p.m. Tuesday, a customer at Tokay Liquor at 8 E. Lockeford St. called police and told them that a robbery had just occurred at the store.

When police arrived at the business, it was discovered that Gurminder Parmar, the store owner, had fired one round from his handgun at a man who had fled the store with a 12-pack of Platinum Budweiser.

Driggers, the suspected thief, was hit between the shoulder and his neck, police said.

Driggers was a 2009 graduate of Lodi High School. He is currently a private first class in the U.S. Army. He is an automated logistical specialist, managing warehouse supplies, inventory and the loading and unloading of shipments, among other tasks.

The U.S. Army had not returned calls for comment regarding Driggers' status.

Lodi police and paramedics located Driggers and the case of beer on the 400 block of North Church Street, a few blocks northwest of the store.

Driggers was taken to Lodi Memorial Hospital to be treated for his wound, Detective Eric Bradley of the Lodi Police Department said.

According to Officer Jim Pendergast, also of the Lodi Police Department, Driggers was only at Lodi Memorial Hospital for a few hours for treatment before he was released. His injury was not life-threatening.

Pendergast said Driggers admitted to stealing the alcohol.

Though Driggers was not arrested after he was released from the hospital, Pendergast said the San Joaquin County District Attorney could still decide to press charges.

Calls to the district attorney's office were not returned as of press time.

Following further investigation, Parmar was arrested and faces a charge of an assault with a deadly weapon. He was booked at the Lodi jail, where he remains in custody.

Parmar declined comment on the advice of his lawyer.

Parmar told police he was scared that he would be robbed when Driggers began walking out without paying for the beer, which cost roughly $15 total, Pendergast said.

Parmar's charge is considered a felony, Pendergast said.

According to the police, in California a person is allowed to use deadly force only when their life or the life or someone around them is immediately threatened. However, Driggers never had a weapon nor made any type of threats towards Parmar, the release stated.

If Parmar is charged and convicted, he faces up to four years in state prison, a $10,000 fine or a possible "strike" on his record, among other penalties.

His bail has been set at $50,000, according to the Lodi Police Department.

Contact reporter Katie Nelson at katien@lodinews.com.

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12 comments:

  • Robert Jacobs posted at 11:05 am on Mon, Jun 11, 2012.

    Robert Jacobs Posts: 298

    The police kill people for far less and they are NEVER held accountable.... What's different here. If you steal be prepared to be shot!

     
  • Ryan Martin posted at 11:50 am on Fri, Jun 8, 2012.

    Ryan101 Posts: 1

    So let's look at some facts instead of just the law.

    1. He admits he went in planning on stealing for the "Fun of it"
    2. Says he never saw action in Afghanistan BUT, "Has never been right since"
    3. He took an oath as a soldier in our military to protect us from all enemies, foreign and DOMESTIC!
    4. He has 1 year left on his term, was stationed in the states and safe, and he walks off base?! (Sounds like he already has a problem following orders or laws for that matter)
    5. Whether it was a $15.00 pack of Bud Light or a $500.00 bottle of aged scotch, HE'S STILL A FRIEKEN CRIMINAL!

    So I guess it's cool to walk into someones house and steal from them just as long as the items being taken are under a certain dollar amount?

    Or it's cool to go into a restaurant order a meal under $25 and walk out without paying because it's just petty?

    But if the home owner decides to beat me up, or take action. Or the manager of the restaurant decides to verbally abuse me or threaten me to pay......watch out because, well "It was just a $20 item?"

    California's laws suck, granted the store owner probably should have fired a warning shot and the coward probably would've hit the ground crying (considering that would be more action he's seen than while being in the military) but now the store owner has been robbed at gun point, probably ripped off more than a few times prior to this so called soldier, and now he finally has enough with trying to make a living and decides to take action and most likely will have to face prison time with the same types of people that would've robbed him or shoplifted.

    Maybe the mistake was made by keeping the gun in his pocket and not in a holster on his hip out in the open for everyone waling in making a statement.

    This is America, you go to the store you get something off the shelf, you exchange money for it. If not you roll the dice on the consequences.

    "It was just beer" Give me a break.

    I guess it was "JUST the Army" too

     
  • Mike Adams posted at 7:50 pm on Wed, Jun 6, 2012.

    Mike Adams Posts: 1271

    To make it simple for you... yes. You need to look up the rules for when deadly force may be used. It's clear from your post that you don't have any idea. You should do this before you shoot someone for walking on your lawn.

    For the price of a case of beer, this man is going to lose quite a bit of money to his lawyers for sure, especially if they get him off on the felony charge. The man he shot is going to sue him and win. So there goes the man's store and his savings and his retirement. All of this for a case of beer.
    The clerk has a phone. He probably has video. He can call the cops and in a few hours, they'll find the criminal drunk and passed out. They'll take him to the hospital if he doesn't wake up right away and in the end, he'll get a ticket with a promise to appear. The clerk will lose everything. For some booze. Hardly seems fair.

    Why should anyone pay? Because members in our society have rules and norms. I don't walk into a place of business with the intent of walking out with something that I didn't pay for. You probably don't either. We know it's wrong. We would hate to have the embarrassment of having our name in the paper or having to go to court because we know shame.

    Many problems in our country right now are due to the lack of shame. For many younger members of society, being arrested, getting in trouble in various ways, is rewarded by peers. They lack shame. I don't know....where did this begin?

     
  • Mariachi Tesoro posted at 9:30 am on Wed, Jun 6, 2012.

    PithyOpiner Posts: 43

    Why would you hate to see someone killed for stealing $15 worth of beer? Are we experiencing a shortage of theives in Lodi?

     
  • Mariachi Tesoro posted at 9:27 am on Wed, Jun 6, 2012.

    PithyOpiner Posts: 43

    The jail must have been too full to arrest and incarcerate the AWOL soldier/thief.

     
  • Mariachi Tesoro posted at 9:23 am on Wed, Jun 6, 2012.

    PithyOpiner Posts: 43

    So, the liquor store owner should have just let him walk off with his merchandise? Why should anyone need to pay, then?

     
  • Mike Adams posted at 7:42 am on Sun, Jun 3, 2012.

    Mike Adams Posts: 1271

    What, it's against the law to shoot someone in the back if they are walking out of your store with purloined merchandise worth less than $20?


    What kind of America is this?

    Also, Mr. Parmar, you need to practice more. You could have hit someone in a car driving past or someone walking down the street minding their own business. Fortunately, for the innocent citizens of Lodi, I doubt you'll have the opportunity to ever own a gun again.

     
  • Rocky Avitia posted at 10:54 am on Fri, Jun 1, 2012.

    Rocky Avitia Posts: 20

    GARY SHOULD BE RELEASED!!
    DIGGERS DOESN'T DESERVE TO SERVE OUR COUNTRY, HE'S PATHETIC.
    IF THIS IS WHERE THINGS ARE GOING, I SHOULD JUST STOP WORKING AND STEAL EVERYTHING I NEED.... REALLY REALLY PATHETIC..

    BTW THOUGHT I SHOULD SAY THIS TOO

    CHRISTOPHER DIGGERS.... PEOPLE LIKE YOU SICKEN ME.

    YOU'RE NO SOLDIER


     
  • Jerry Bransom posted at 9:05 pm on Thu, May 31, 2012.

    Jerry Bransom Posts: 363

    This "soldier" (I use that term loosely) caused a good family to be ruined. Shame, SHAME, SHAME! He should be made an example and Gary should be released.

     
  • MARK TROVINGER posted at 7:06 pm on Thu, May 31, 2012.

    MARK TROVINGER Posts: 204

    Good points Mr. Morgan. It's too bad that it isn't socially acceptable to shoot a thief robbing you. Thieves would probably think twice about commiting a crime if they realized that getting shot, while robbing a store, was a real possibility considering it would be classified as an OCCUPATIONAL HAZARD.

     
  • Josh Morgan posted at 8:08 am on Thu, May 31, 2012.

    Josh Morgan Posts: 529

    I'm struggling with this one. On the one hand I would hate to see anyone killed for stealing a $15.00 case of beer. Particularly if it is true that the suspect was not threatening or carrying a weapon. On the other hand this owner has been robbed in the past at gunpoint. What risks does the suspect have to consider if he/she is going to commit an illegal act such as robbery? I suppose they are the same risks that a driver needs to consider for doing something so simple as texting while driving. Both can result tragically. I don't know.....I just have a problem with this owner spending four years in prison for defending his business. This has nothing to do with the event but the news last night indicated that the suspect was AWOL from the Army.

     
  • MARK TROVINGER posted at 7:13 am on Thu, May 31, 2012.

    MARK TROVINGER Posts: 204

    It was wrong for the store owner to shoot the suspect in a robbery if he wasn't being threatened. However, it makes no difference whether the person committing the robbery was a Lodi High graduate or not. It also makes no difference if the person is in the Army or not. The person should have been arrested. The military should have been notified and the Army should decide this person's fate. The Army does not condone robbery and we should not condone allowing a thief to remain in the military. At the the least, the Lodi Police should have held the suspect and turned him over to the military authorities. This has always been the standard procedure when a military person is apprehended by local law enforcement after commiting a crime of any sort.

     

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