Tatiana Duva-Rodriguez was sentenced to 18 months' probation on Dec. 9 for shooting at two alleged shoplifters' vehicle in a parking lot outside a Home Depot in Auburn Hills, Michigan, in October (video below).
“I made a decision in a split second,” Duva-Rodriguez told Rochester Hills District Court Judge Julie Nicholson, notes The Detroit News.
“Maybe it was not the right one, but I was trying to help,” Duva-Rodriguez added.
“I don’t believe any malice was involved in what you were doing, but I believe you have to think about what could have happened,” Nicholson told Duva-Rodriguez in court.
Duva-Rodriguez insisted she heard a scream and thought something worse than a theft was occurring, but admitted the shooting was a mistake.
Her tone turned to bitterness once she was outside the courtroom.
"I tried to help, and I learned my lesson that I will never help anybody again," Duva-Rodriguez told reporters after her sentencing, notes WJBK.
Duva-Rodriguez's lawyer, Steven Schwartz, insisted his client wasn't trying to hurt anyone when she fired the shots in public.
"She's there to help; saw something happening; thought it was serious; pulled her gun," Schwartz said. "She didn't want to hurt anybody. We don't know that there were any people in the parking lot, other than this person that was driving away this vehicle. She didn't shoot it in the air; she didn't shoot it at the window, at the windshield. She fired at the tires."
The store surveillance video shows a crowded parking lot.
Duva-Rodriguez witnessed a Home Depot security officer chasing a man with shopping cart into the parking lot where another man waited in a car. Duva-Rodriguez blew out the tires of the alleged getaway vehicle with her gun. No one was injured.
She was charged with reckless discharge of a gun, which she pleaded no contest to in October.
Duva-Rodriguez, who was licensed to carry a concealed weapon, won't be able to apply for a gun permit until 2023, as part of her sentencing.
Schwartz described his client to The Detroit News as a “sharpshooter,” and added, “We need more people like Tatiana Duva-Rodriguez in our society."
It's not clear why Duva-Rodriguez and Schwartz agreed to the plea bargain given her insistence the shooting was justified.
Prosecutor Jessica Cooper called the incident “disturbing.”