Alleged Home Depot shooter says gun went off accidentally in employee's killing

The woman accused of killing a Home Depot employee this week after he tried to stop her from stealing from the store said she accidentally fired the gun, arrest records show.

Benicia Knapps, 32, was charged with murder and being a felon in possession of a firearm in the death of Blake Mohs, 26, according to the Alameda County District Attorney's Office. Mohs was a loss prevention officer for the Home Depot store in Pleasanton.

Knapp's boyfriend, David Guillory, 31, was the alleged getaway driver after the deadly run-in. Guillory was charged with accessory after the fact and evading police. Both Knapps and Guillory face child endangerment charges.

Authorities detailed how the incident unfolded Tuesday afternoon at the Home Depot store at 6000 Johnson Drive.

Officers said surveillance video showed Knapps enter the store and grab a large yellow DeWalt box. Authorities said Knapps left the store without paying for the merchandise. Once outside, Knapps was confronted by Mohs and another Home Depot employee.

Officers said a struggle ensued between Mohs and Knapps, which was seen on video. However, Pleasanton police have not shared that store surveillance video with the public.

Mohs managed to wrestle the merchandise from Knapps, who then retrieved a gun from her purse, police said. Knapps was allegedly seen with the gun in her right hand when Mohs and his co-worker ran away and back into the store.

Once inside, Mohs and Knapps get into another struggle over the DeWalt box. Authorities said Knapps then shot Mohs from point-blank range, the bullet hitting his left chest.

Mohs let go of the stolen merchandise and Knapps retrieved it. She fled in an awaiting vehicle, allegedly driven by Guillory. Knapps' 2-year-old daughter was also inside the car.

Guillory and Knapps led Alameda County sheriff's deputies on a pursuit into East Oakland and ended the chase in the parking lot of their apartment complex on Ney Avenue.


Home Depot employee killed while trying to stop theft was Eagle Scout, engaged

A Home Depot employee was killed while trying to stop an alleged shoplifter who shot him for confronting her when she took a battery charger, police said.

Guillory exited the vehicle and took off running. Knapps was arrested at that scene before handing her daughter over to a relative. While handcuffed in the back of a sheriff's cruiser, she tried to kill herself by wrapping a seat belt three times around her neck, said sheriff's Lt. Tya Modeste. Deputies took her out of the car and was revived.

Guillory eventually surrendered to police. Both remain in custody.

Investigators said Knapps acknowledged that she was the person seen on video stealing from the Home Depot store and getting into a confrontation with Mohs. They also said Knapps admitted to having a gun and claimed that she accidentally discharged the weapon.

California records show that Knapps is a licensed security guard and has a criminal history involving theft, records show. Guillory has a pending criminal case in Berkeley, where he's been charged with stealing $1,300 in uniforms and jerseys from a soccer store, according to court records.

The defendants could not be reached since they are in custody. Attempts to reach relatives of the defendants have gone unanswered. Efforts to determine if they had attorneys were also not successful.