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Shoplifter's lawsuit against store owner underway

Bryson Dewberry is suing a store owner who shot him after he shoplifted a bottle of vodka.
Bryson Dewberry is suing a store owner who shot him after he shoplifted a bottle of vodka.KDVR/ CSPD

Should a store owner who shot a shoplifter have to pay for the injuries he caused? According to the Colorado Springs Gazette, that is what an El Paso County jury is trying to decide as the civil suit against Chang Ho Yi got underway this week.

In October 2010, Bryson Dewberry reportedly stole a bottle of vodka from Yi's Colorado Springs liquor store, Austin Bluff's Liquor. Yi chased Dewberry from the store and shot him in the face at point blank range as he attempted to get into a getaway car, the Gazette reported. The bullet struck then-22 year old Dewberry in the jaw and also hit a passenger in his car in the leg.

Now Dewberry's attorneys state that the young man, who had aspired to be a rapper, suffers from a speech impediment. Dewberry is suing Yi for ongoing medical expenses as well as pain and suffering, loss of work, and loss of future business opportunities. According to an earlier report from KDVR when the lawsuit was filed in December 2012, Dewberry also claims that Yi's actions were negligent and reckless and that Dewberry posed no physical threat that would warrant him being shot.

However, Yi's attorney stated that the store owner only brandished the gun in self defense after being struck in the head as he ran from the store, the Gazette reported. Yi was initially arrested on suspicion of attempted murder, but the case against him was dropped after a grand jury failed to hand up an indictment.

Dewberry reportedly had numerous run-ins with the police before the shooting occurred.