Ex-store clerk gets 4 years in prison in beer theft shooting

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LAS VEGAS (AP) — A 56-year-old former Las Vegas convenience store clerk has been sentenced to four to 12 years in state prison for shooting a man in the back of the head when he tried to steal a case of beer in August 2014.

Mariano Tejeda-Zuniga was sentenced Thursday in Clark County District Court after a jury acquitted him in October of attempted murder but found him guilty of battery with a deadly weapon and possession of a stolen gun.

Friends drove the wounded man, Kallum Smith, to nearby Sunrise Hospital & Medical Center, where he was treated for a gunshot that police said struck behind his ear and exited his face.

Tejeda-Zuniga was arrested at a 7-Eleven store where police said he turned over a .45-caliber handgun and detectives obtained store security video. Police also reported finding a bloodstained 24-pack of Modelo beer in a store sink.

Tejeda-Zuniga told police he bought the gun from a man on the street about a week before the shooting.

On Thursday Tejeda-Zuniga called the shooting an accident and that the gun fired when he put a bullet in the chamber.

He told investigators he wanted to fire a warning shot when the gun went off and the man fell. He said Smith laughed at him instead of paying for the beer.

Defense attorney Michael Pandullo noted that Tejeda-Zuniga had no previous criminal history.

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