OAKLAND, Calif. (KTVU) - The Alameda County District Attorney's Office on Tuesday declined to file charges against a store owner in Oakland's Chinatown who opened fire to stop a robbery.
Liquor store owner Aaron Yee fired four shots at multiple suspects attempting to rob a woman for her camera last month outside his store. The men also hit the woman with a car before fleeing the scene.
"The District Attorney’s Office does not condone vigilantism," said District Attorney Nancy O’Malley. "However, after a thorough review of the facts of the incident, it is clear that Mr. Yee fired his weapon in lawful defense of the victim of the robbery or what appeared to be a possible kidnapping."
O'Malley said Yee was justified in his use of force to defend the woman.
Oakland police officers who arrived at the scene were reluctant to arrest Yee, but a captain ordered that Yee be jailed, a decision that divided the department.
"We don't want people to fire weapons into our community. There could be unintended victims," Chief LeRonne Armstrong said a day after the Feb. 15th incident.
Yee, 36, was subsequently arrested on one count of felony assault with a firearm.
Yee, who has a valid concealed weapon carry permit in California, has helped police investigators find suspects in the past.
Alameda County District Nancy O’Malley said Yee's actions come "during a substantial uptick in crime against Asian Americans in Oakland’s Chinatown and across Alameda County."
Some of the recent high-profile crimes include the January attack on a 91-year-old Chinese man that was caught on video, following assaults on a 55-year-old Chinese man and a 60-year- old woman. Yahya Muslim, 28, was later charged with all three attacks.