NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Nashville liquor store owner May Boyce, an 88-year-old widow who stands 5-foot-3 and weighs 115 pounds, according to reports, got “fed up” with her store being ripped off so she shot a suspect accused of shoplifting.
Boyce, who owns Murfreesboro Road Liquor and Wines, told investigators two Black men entered her store June 16 and walked behind the counter where the vodka was located, according to an affidavit obtained by McClatchy News. She said one of the men approached her “in a manner that she knew” he was going to steal from her.
One of the men asked for brown liquor and the other, identified as Ramon Fisher, grabbed a couple of Crown Royal whiskey bottles. Boyce then confronted Fisher, who she said “lunged” at her.
She told police she grabbed her late mother Mary’s .38 Smith & Wesson snub-nose revolver and shot the would-be thief, reported the Charlotte Observer.
Fisher fell to the ground, yelling that he was shot. He crashed into a display case of wine bottles that broke open all over the floor.
“I did what I had to do, and I hope word gets out on the street that I’m fed up and I’m not taking it anymore,” she told The New York Post Saturday. “You’ve got to stick up for yourself sometimes.”
“I did what I had to do,” added Boyce. “After you’ve been played for a fool by people stealin’ from you for years, you get fed up. And don’t put me in the category of a little old lady. I know how to take care of myself.”
She said she wasn’t aiming for the thief but instead shot the suspect in the back.
“I never shot a gun before,” Boyce said, “but I guess it’s something that comes natural. I aimed at the floor to scare him.”
Boyce has been charged with aggravated assault. She’s out of custody on $10,000 bond. The alleged perpetrator is recovering, according to Metro Nashville Police Department.
The liquor store was lined up with supportive customers on Saturday, reported the New York Post.
May Boyce is free on $10,000 bond on a charge of aggravated assault for shooting a man Tuesday night who she thought was a thief in her Murfreesboro Pike liquor store. The victim is recovering. pic.twitter.com/WUnZYZ6z80
— Metro Nashville PD (@MNPDNashville) June 18, 2020
The elderly businesswoman has been victimized several times in the past few years. As a result, she’s scared, according to the Post.
A young friend of Boyce, Carson Burch, took to Facebook to defend her, saying she wears a wrist brace from an incident at the store two months ago when she was robbed and assaulted.
“She is a sweet old lady who minds her own business. She opens this liquor store up every single day by herself, and she closes it down every night by herself,” Burch wrote. “Now she’s charged with a crime for defending herself? Give me a break.”
Boyce said she volunteered to go to the station with the police when they arrived.
“I went down, got my mugshot taken, got out on bond and came right back to the store,” Boyce said. “I got some people to help me but it took us to 1 a.m. to clean up all the wine that spilled everywhere.”
Police said in an affidavit obtained by McClatchy News Service that they visited Fisher at Vanderbilt Hospital where he told them he had been high on cocaine and alcohol at the time he entered Boyce’s store and intended to steal liquor. The next day Fisher amended his story to say he and his friend planned to pay for the liquor and were not stealing it.
Boyce works six days a week at the liquor store she’s owned since 1994.
“I’m a people person,” she said, “I like to work.”
Authorities said it might be two years before they return her confiscated firearm.
“I told ’em, s**t, I might be dead by then,” Boyce said. “But the law’s the law.”
Nashville police did not return calls from The Post Sunday asking about whether or not Boyce overreacted by shooting Fisher, who is recovering.