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Wife of man arrested after south Las Vegas valley Target shooting: ‘He’s not a bad person’

The man accused of firing shots at a fleeing shoplifting suspect Thursday in the parking lot of a south valley Target store will face charges in connection with the shooting.

Stephen Howard, 44, was arrested Thursday on felony charges of carrying a concealed weapon without a permit and shooting a gun where people might be endangered, as well as two unrelated traffic warrants.

According to his wife, Susan, 38, the couple and their 3-year-old daughter had just finished shopping at the 4100 Blue Diamond Road store, near Arville Street, about 5:30 p.m. As the woman loaded groceries into the couple’s car, she spotted a nearby scuffle between the shoplifting suspect and one of the store’s loss-prevention officers.

She mistook the scuffle for a robbery attempt, adding “I’ve never seen a robbery guy that close. It just scared me.”

She grabbed her husband’s arm, who was already in their car, and told him “to get out and look at this.”

“I’m the one who told him to help me,” she said. “I just thought he would push him down. I don’t understand.”

She said her husband typically carries a gun, which is “in his name.”

When her husband confronted the shoplifting suspect and tried to intervene, she said Howard pulled his gun out “right there.”

“He could have shot him” but chose not to because “he didn’t want to,” she said. “He was just scared for us.”

Instead, she said Howard tried to intimidate the shoplifting suspect, who ran away. The suspect got into a pickup truck and drove off, and Howard followed on foot.

“He was screaming the license plate number. He was proud that he had gotten it,” she said.

That’s when she heard his gun go off.

“I think he was just shocked at what he had done,” she said.

Howard’s wife cried on the phone as she spoke, adding that she felt guilty for mentioning the scuffle to her husband in the first place.

“I was the one that was scared,” she said.

It’s unclear whether the shoplifting suspect was injured because police haven’t found him. No one else in the parking lot was hurt.

“My husband … he’s not a bad person,” she said. “They have him but they don’t have the guy,” meaning the shoplifting suspect.

Police hadn’t released a description of the shoplifting suspect as of Friday afternoon. Howard is being held at the Clark County Detention Center and is due in court Saturday morning.

Las Vegas Review-Journal writer Max Michor contributed to this story. Contact Rachel Crosby at rcrosby@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5290. Find @rachelacrosby on Twitter.

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