Orange County deputies recommend criminal charges for man they said shot Walmart shoplifter

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — The Orange County Sheriff's Office is recommending criminal charges for the man who shot and killed a teenage diaper thief outside a Walmart last month.

It happened at the Walmart Neighborhood Market on Clacona Ocoee Road.

Sheriff's investigators sent the case to the State Attorney's Office last week with the recommendation that the shooter be charged with manslaughter, aggravated battery with a firearm and carrying a concealed firearm.

It will now be up to prosecutors to decide if he should face charges.

Investigators said two men were trying to steal diapers and got into a confrontation with a store employee in the parking lot.

A customer stepped in, pulled out a gun and shot and killed 19-year-old Arthur Adams.

When Channel 9 spoke to Adams’ mother after the shooting, she said she was heartbroken.

“That was my heart,” she said.

But she didn't think stealing diapers warranted being shot to death.




At the time, investigators would only say the shooter was a 50-year-old black male.

The State Attorney's Office confirmed on Friday that the gunman is Lonnie Leonard, 51.

The Sheriff's Office handed its case over, recommending prosecutors charge him.

Neighbors of Leonard said they saw investigators searching his property the day of the shooting.

“The State Attorney's Office is going to be looking as to whether or not they can prove this case beyond that to the exclusion of every reasonable doubt,” said WFTV legal analyst Bill Sheaffer.

Sheaffer said even if charges are filed, it won't be a slam dunk, since Leonard would likely claim self-defense, or defense of others.

Leonard told investigators at the scene he thought he saw Adams reaching for a weapon.