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Man who shot at shoplifting suspect now charged with attempted murder

Prosecutors have added an attempted murder charge to the case against a man accused of shooting at a shoplifting suspect in June outside a southwest valley Target.

Stephen Howard, 45, also now faces three more felonies in connection with the incident, including assault with a deadly weapon and two counts of discharging a firearm at or into an occupied vehicle.

The charges were added Thursday after a preliminary hearing, and Howard’s attorney, Dustin Marcello, said he expects to take the case to trial.

“Mr. Howard looks forward to asserting the justification for his actions in front of a jury of his peers,” Marcello said.

The lawyer said Howard intends to show that he was attempting to stop “what he believed to be a dangerous criminal who presented a danger to both Mr. Howard and the public.”

Howard originally was charged with just two counts: carrying a concealed weapon and discharging a gun where persons might be endangered.

He and his family had just finished shopping at the 4100 Blue Diamond Road store on June 16 when they noticed a scuffle between a shoplifting suspect and the store’s loss-prevention officers, his wife told the Las Vegas Review-Journal at the time.

When Metropolitan Police Department officers arrived at the scene, “Howard began immediately excitedly uttering, without being asked any questions, that he had thought the man had just robbed the Target and (Howard) was trying to protect people,” a police report stated.

Howard ran after the suspect, who jumped into a gold Toyota Tundra and backed up before pulling forward over a median and driving away as Howard fired in the crowded parking lot, according to the report.

Police found two shell casings in the parking lot and recovered a 9mm handgun from Howard.

The man who scuffled with the security officer was named in the police report as a “repeat offender” but has not been arrested or charged in the incident.

Security officers told police they did not believe Howard was “in an immediate danger.”

No one in the parking lot was reported injured. Howard remains free on his own recognizance.

Contact David Ferrara at dferrara@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-1039. Follow @randompoker on Twitter.

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