"I'm here now planning a funeral when last Wednesday we were planning a trip for our family vacation," his wife said.
Trigger Warning: The article contains descriptions of gun violence which some readers may find distressing.
A 'beloved' husband and father was shot and killed at Giant grocery store on Audrey lane in Oxon Hill, the Prince George's County Police Department said in a press release.
The man was identified as 43-year-old Willie Tate of Fredericksburg, VA. He was working as a store security guard. When he attempted to prevent 20-year-old Zaila Akida from stealing items, she pulled a gun from a backpack and shot Tate and he was able to return fire at her. Tate was pronounced dead on the spot. Akida was rushed to a hospital where she also died.
Family and friends are gathered for a vigil for 43yr old Willie Tate, a Giant security guard who was shot while on the job Friday after confronting a suspected shoplifter. His sister tells me he just started working there a few months ago and loved his job. @wjz pic.twitter.com/WBLwEdHwQg— Kelsey Kushner (@KelseyKushnerTV) November 9, 2022
According to the press statement, officers reached the grocery store and found Tate dead and Akida with gunshot wounds.
Tate's wife, Shaunte Tate told ABC 7 News that she was worried about her husband even before this incident happened. She said that he was "trying to leave that location." Shaunte used to talk to him daily to know if he was doing fine. "I did fear for him when he went to that location because that location is rough, and he has already been in several incidents at that location, but able to walk away. He was able to stop the people and walk away."
Family and friends are mourning Willie Tate, the Giant grocery store security guard who was shot and killed by an accused shoplifter last week in Prince George's County.— WJZ | CBS Baltimore (@wjz) November 10, 2022
While Tate was working and living in Oxon Hill, his family is from Baltimore. https://t.co/HIR12tSL7Z
Shaunte used to check in with her husband to make sure he was safe. She fails to understand why the incident on Nov 4 escalated so quickly. She said that her husband was the type of person who would have helped someone purchase groceries if they didn't have money. "If it was food and he knew she was hungry, honestly he would have just bought the food. He would have just taken her to the register and bought the groceries," Shaunte said. "I don't understand the reason someone would take a gun to go grocery shopping," as reported by PEOPLE.
Tate has left behind two children and four step-children.
Only on @7NewsDC tonight at 11, hear from Shaunte Tate, the wife of Willie Tate, the security guard who was shot and killed after trying to stop a suspected shoplifter at the Giant in Oxon Hill Friday.— Christian Flores (@CFloresNews) November 7, 2022
Willie and Shaunte had just celebrated their one-year wedding anniversary. "To only be able to spend the one year where I was just beginning to find my happiness. My happiness and my peace were just taken away from me in a blink of an eye. To wake up, to get a phone call. That type of phone call is just something I don't wish on anybody," Tate said. "I'm here now planning a funeral when last Wednesday we were planning a trip for our family vacation."
Shaunte has started a fundraiser on GoFundMe to support their family. "Willie was an amazing and loving husband, father, brother, and friend. He loved to make others laugh, smile, and have fun. Our lives will not be the same without him. Willie was a giver and gave all he could to help family, friends, and people in need. We are truly devastated," the fundraiser states. Shaunte said she and other family members are still looking for answers.
Cover Image Source: GoFundMe