DURHAM — A police officer's bullet struck two people in a Target parking lot Friday afternoon, stunning shoppers and sparking a State Bureau of Investigation probe.
A man and woman were wounded outside the store near the Streets at Southpoint in south Durham just before 2 p.m.
Sgt. Jack Cates of the Durham Police Department said the unidentified officer was called by Target employees and told that Kimberly Anette Mobley, 36, of 123 Owenby Cove Road in Fairview tried to use a fraudulent prescription to buy drugs.
The undercover officer, who specializes in drug fraud cases, approached her and Mickel Matthew Mobley, 26, of the same address.
The police officer identified himself, but Cates said Mickel Mobley tried to drive off in his late-model GMC truck.
Cates said the officer worried he was going to be run over.
"He felt like his life was in danger," Cates said. "The guy wasn't obeying his commands, and the guy was going backwards in his vehicle."
The bullet hit Mickel Mobley in the chest and passed through him, striking Kimberly Mobley in the arm. The bullet lodged there near her elbow, Cates said.
The injuries weren't considered life-threatening, and both were taken to a local hospital for treatment, police said.
Mickel Mobley is accused of assault with a deadly weapon on a government official and resisting a public officer.
Kimberly Mobley is charged with trying to obtain a controlled substance by fraud or forgery. Both were being held in the Durham County jail Friday night.
Standard practice is to call in the State Bureau of Investigation to look into any instance of an officer firing a weapon. Durham police internal affairs also is investigating, Cates said.
'Policy pretty clear'
"Our policy is pretty clear," Cates said.
"You have the right to use deadly force when you perceive your life or a third party's life is in danger. It appears our officer acted in accordance with our policy."
Investigators cordoned off a large section of the Target parking lot, with the truck backed halfway out of a parking space, its driver's side door open and windshield wipers waving.
"It's surreal. It's not exactly what you'd expect to see when you come in to buy milk," said Target customer William Teeter, 24, of Durham, who arrived at the store in time to see police swarming the parking lot.
Though most of the Target parking lot was blocked off, customers continued to arrive, asking common questions: "What happened? Is the store open?"
Several shoppers lined up along the yellow tape, waiting to get to their cars. Police escorted customers, one by one, into the roped-off areas so they could return to their cars and leave.
One officer even helped a woman load cat litter and groceries into her SUV.
Erin Stuelke and Chris Fischer, both 28, said that when they entered the Target store just before 2 p.m., nothing was amiss. When they emerged 20 minutes later, the parking lot was crawling with police and teeming with concerned onlookers.
The two women were stuck, they said, because the car they drove to the store was part of the shooting scene, parked just a few feet from where the shooting occurred.
"I find this area to be really safe," said Fischer, who lives in a nearby apartment.
Staff writer Matt Dees can be reached at 956-2433 or firstname.lastname@example.org.