Winston-Salem police officials are speaking out about the perils of vigilante justice after a recent incident at a Target store left two people wounded.
Police say three men filmed their confrontation with a 25-year-old man at a Winston-Salem Target last Tuesday. During an ensuing altercation, the victim shot his firearm, wounding one of the suspects in the leg. The suspects then took the gun from him and fled the store. One was later treated for his gunshot wound. The victim also sought treatment for his injuries at an area hospital.
The suspects have now been identified as Jay Carnicom and Joshua Mundy of Freemont, Ohio, and Jason Chipps of Marion, North Carolina.
Police say they're all part of Dads Against Predators (DAP), a vigilante group known for luring suspected pedophiles to public locations to confront them. DAP often films these interactions and posts the footage online, where it has a large following.
Law enforcement agencies in Ohio have spoken out against the group and Winston-Salem police appear to be following suit. At a hastily called late-night press conference last Wednesday, Police Chief Catrina Thompson said vigilante groups often do more harm than good.
“Not only do they not have the training and experience of a law enforcement officer, but typically their methods of investigation and evidence do not meet the requirement for successful prosecution of these cases,” said Thompson.
So far, no charges have been announced in the Target case.