Man pleads guilty to helping teen avoid arrest after reportedly pulling gun on Walmart employee

Published 8:42 pm Monday, December 18, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

An Albert Lea man pleaded guilty Monday for his role in a July incident in which a 16-year-old boy reportedly pulled a gun out on a Walmart employee as he was confronted about shoplifting as he left the store.

Saw John, 20, pleaded guilty to one count of aiding an offender to avoid arrest for reportedly driving the teenager and a few others from the store after the teenager allegedly pulled the gun on June 29.

Court documents state John had admitted to a police officer that he knew one of them had pulled a gun on someone at the store and then dropped them off at another store on East Main Street in Albert Lea.

Email newsletter signup

John was initially charged with aiding and abetting second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon.

Ta Ka Paw, the teenager who reportedly pulled the gun, faces one count of second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon; one count of possessing ammunition, a pistol or assault weapon while under 18; and one count of dangerous weapons-intentionally pointing a gun.

In Minnesota, when youth are 16 years old and charged with felonies, information about the case, including the name of the individual charged, becomes public.

Court documents state a loss prevention employee told police he had observed a group of males taking items, pulling off price tags and placing the tags in a grocery bag. Another employee began to follow the group, and the first employee waited by the grocery side exit at the store for them to pass the point of sale.

Paw reportedly walked past that point with two items in a grocery bag without paying for them, and the loss prevention employee tried to confront him and asked him to go to the loss prevention office. Paw then reportedly dropped one of the items on the ground, and the employee grabbed the bag with the other item from him. Paw reportedly took a handgun from his waistband and pointed it at the employee about five feet away.

The employee put his hand up and walked past Paw and into the office, but as he passed him, Paw can be seen grabbing the slide on the handgun with his left hand. He reportedly pointed the gun again at the employee, holding the gun with both hands.

Paw and the others ultimately fled the store and could be seen in the video running to a vehicle in the west side of the parking lot and getting in the backseat.

John is slated to be sentenced Feb. 23.