Slain Pleasanton Home Depot Employee Remembered as ‘Model for Others'

Loss prevention employee Blake Mohs, 26, had plans to get married this summer, police say

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Officials on Wednesday identified the Pleasanton Home Depot employee who was shot and killed while confronting a shoplifting suspect inside the store, calling the 26-year-old a "model for others."

Blake Mohs, a loss prevention employee and Tri-Valley resident, was shot at about 2:15 p.m. Tuesday when he confronted the suspected shoplifter inside the store at 6000 Johnson Drive, police said.

"I am devastated by the loss of Blake Mohs in yesterday’s senseless shooting," Pleasanton Mayor Karla Brown said in a statement. "Through his service to Tri-Valley organizations, Blake was a model for others. To have a life cut short is heartbreaking and infuriating. I’m joined by the City Council in offering our deepest condolences to Blake’s family, friends, loved ones, and to everyone impacted by this tragedy."

Police said Mohs was a well-known community member who helped keep customers and staff members safe. He was also involved in community youth programs.

"He had worked at Home Depot for a period of time and several of our officers knew him through his work at Home Depot," Pleasanton police Lt. Erik Silacci said. "Those same officers were out there yesterday. They're grieving with Blake's family as well."

Mohs is survived by his parents, brother and fiancée, according to police. The couple had plans to get married this summer.

"We lost a valuable member of our community, a person who served to protect his fellow coworkers and customers and was a valuable partner with law enforcement," Silacci said.

The suspected shoplifter and shooter, 32-year-old Oakland resident Benicia Knapps, grabbed some sort of electrical item before making her way to a loading dock at the back of the store, Silacci said.

There's a bill working its way through the state legislature to make sure companies keep track of any violence in the workplace. And, actively develop training to protect workers from violence. Senator Dave Cortese introduced the bill and he represents the area of Pleasanton where that Home Depot is located.

"She seemed determined to exit the store without paying," Silacci said. "Then she was confronted by Blake, the loss prevention agent, and that's when a physical confrontation ensued. The female suspect pulled out a handgun and fired a shot at Blake."

Knapps ran to a getaway car driven by 31-year-old Oakland resident David Guillory, Silacci said. The two took off, but an Alameda County Sheriff's Office air unit was able to track the vehicle to a residential area in Oakland. Authorities eventually arrested the suspects.

Knapps's 2-year-old child was also in the vehicle, according to Silacci. The child was later reunited with family members.

A handgun was recovered at an intersection near the Home Depot, Silacci said.

Guillory has been booked into Santa Rita Jail. Knapps will be booked after she receives medical treatment for injuries suffered during the incident, not the arrest, Silacci said.

"We believe that the vehicle either struck her, the getaway vehicle, or that she hit something on the way out," Silacci said. "We're not exactly sure cause the vehicle did have some damage."

Both suspects face several charges, including murder, robbery, child endangerment and conspiracy, Silacci said.

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