Family of man killed near UofM convenience store files lawsuit, lawyer says

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The family of a man who was killed near a University of Memphis convenience store has filed a lawsuit.

According to The Cochran Firm - Mid-South, the family of Christopher Nettles, an unarmed man who was shot and killed May 16 in Scootie’s One Stop convenience store near the University of Memphis, announced they filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the store and its owners.

ORIGINAL STORY: Man arrested in killing of alleged thief at store near University of Memphis, records show

According to police, Nettles allegedly attempted to flee with $100 worth of merchandise from the store.

A store employee locked the front door and Nettles was shot and killed by Robert Buie, a store security guard, a release said.

According to records, Buie, a convicted felon, was later arrested and charged with second-degree murder and convicted felon in possession of a weapon.

Documents said neither the store owner nor Buie attempted to render aid to Nettles after he was shot in the chest from about 4 to 6 feet away.

The lawsuit, which was filed in Circuit Court in Shelby County, alleged that Buie acted recklessly, with malice and gross negligence, for which the store owners are responsible.

The suit also contends the store owners should have known Buie wasn’t supposed to be carrying a firearm as a convicted felon.

“Shoplifting is a Class A misdemeanor in the state of Tennessee. It carries a maximum punishment of 11 months and 29 days in jail,” Howard Manis, one of the lawyers representing the Nettles family said. “What is going on is people are giving the death penalty for shoplifting.”

Manis from the Cochran Firm is taking on the case. He said the store owner should have known Buie was not supposed to have access to a gun.

“We learned today at the preliminary hearing that the weapon he possessed and used to kill Christopher Nettles was provided to him by his employer as part of his job,” Manis said.

The suit further alleges the store was negligent in failing to supervise, monitor, hire, fire, and train their employees or agents.

”Enough is enough. This is not the first time this firm has had to file these lawsuits where citizens are taking the law into their own hands,” Manis said.

Nettles leaves behind a wife and five small children. His family is making sure he’s not forgotten.