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Home Depot security guard, Eagle Scout shot dead in California by alleged shoplifter months before marrying fiancee he met as camp counselor

Benicia Knapps, Blake Mohs, David Guiillory

Benicia Knapps, Blake Mohs, David Guiillory (image of victim via Facebook; image of suspects via Pleasanton PD)

A 26-year-old Home Depot security guard was shot and killed by an alleged shoplifter this week, just months before the Eagle Scout and his fiancee were set to celebrate their wedding at the Boy Scout campground where they met.

According to the Pleasanton Police Department, Blake Mohs “confronted a female shoplifter who resisted and shot him” inside the Home Depot at Johnson Drive on Tuesday afternoon. That suspect, identified as 32-year-old Benicia Knapps, was allegedly aided by 31-year-old David Guillory, whom cops identified as the getaway driver. Knapps’ 2-year-old toddler was in the car at the time of the shooting, cops said.

Pleasanton Police Lt. Erik Silacci told reporters Wednesday that what began as a theft of an “electrical item” escalated to robbery and murder. He said the suspects face murder, robbery, child endangerment, and conspiracy charges. Silacci indicated additional charges may be filed as well as the investigation progresses.

Silacci said that suspected murder weapon, which was found at an intersection, was not a legally registered handgun.

The suspects, both Oakland residents, were taken into custody there after fleeing the Home Depot scene, cops said.

“After they fled the scene, a handgun was recovered in a nearby intersection. Around 2:30 p.m., the two suspects were detained by Alameda County Sheriff’s Office deputies, and the child was released to relatives,” police said. Pleasanton is located within Alameda County.

According to CBS Bay Area, once Knapps was in the back seat of an Alameda County Sheriff’s cruiser, she choked herself unconscious with a seatbelt, leading her to be placed on a mental health hold as Guillory was booked into the Santa Rita Jail.

Lt. Silacci said he did not know Mohs personally, but said those who did know and love him remember the loss prevention employee and enthusiastic scouting volunteer as a “great person” with a “zeal for life” and an interest in law enforcement; Blake’s grandfather was a police officer.

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Mohs, an Eagle Scout, died at Eden Medical Center months before a planned wedding reception at Camp Royaneh, the Boy Scout campground close to the Russian River where the couple met as counselors.

“Blake was a well-known member of the community who helped keep customers and staff safe. He was involved in community youth programs and planned to be married in the summer,” authorities said in a Facebook post. “He is survived by his parents, brother, and fiancée.”

Blake Mohs’ parents spoke out on their son’s death in an interview with KGO. Lorie Mohs said her son and his fiancee had known each other for years before falling in love.

“They looked at each other and they had seen each other for a long time, but then they saw each other differently and almost five years later they were planning a wedding and a future,” Lorie said. “Those were things that I really looked forward to with his future wife and children and participating in,” she continued.

Eric Mohs, Blake’s father, said “We lost one of the good ones,” KGO reported.

A wedding website shows that Blake Mohs and his fiancee Kasey were going to get married at church on Aug. 12 in Cazadero. The ceremony was to be followed by a wedding reception at the camp, and guests were invited to bring their camping gear and stay on-site.

A Home Depot spokesperson said the company was “heartbroken over the senseless tragedy” and death of “our associate and friend,” according to KRON.

Pleasanton Mayor Karla Brown called the “senseless shooting” of a model citizen “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,” the mayor said.

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Matt Naham is the Senior A.M. Editor of Law&Crime.