Case against alleged getaway driver in fatal Home Depot shooting could get worse, legal analyst says

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Saturday, April 22, 2023
Legal expert explains case against 1 suspect in Home Depot shooting
A legal analyst explains the keys to David Guillory's case, as he's accused of being the getaway driver in the fatal Pleasanton Home Depot shooting.

PLEASANTON, Calif. (KGO) -- The man accused of being the getaway driver in the fatal shooting of a Pleasanton Home Depot employee earlier this week is set to be in court on Friday.

David Guillory, 31, is scheduled to enter pleas for charges of child abuse, accessory after the fact and evading an officer.

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The charges are tied to the shooting of 26-year-old Blake Mohs by second suspect 32-year-old Oakland resident Benicia Knapps.

Court documents reveal Knapps told investigators she fired accidentally, claiming the gun went off as Mohs tried to wrestle a stolen item out of her hands.

Mohs was an unarmed loss prevention specialist, working at the Home Depot in Pleasanton.

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Investigators say after the shooting, Knapps was then driven from the scene by Guillory to Oakland.

Legal analyst Steven Clark says that Guillory is lucky he isn't currently charged with murder, but notes that a lot remains unknown.

"The key to this case will be how much did he know was (sic) could have happened at the Home Depot," Clark said. "Did he know this codefendant was armed with a gun? Did he know that her intent was if she got in an altercation that she would use that firearm? Or was he just expecting that this was going to be shoplifting? And he was going to drive her from the scene? So the key to the case will be his knowledge of what happened in the Home Depot."

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Deputies took the suspects into custody in Oakland.

Authorities say the pair had Knapps' toddler inside the car.

Knapps is not yet in the custody of the Alameda County Sheriff's Office, as she's still being treated for related injuries in the hospital.

For that reason, Clark says this case has the potential to get worse for Guillory.

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Newly released court documents reveal the 32-year-old woman accused of shooting and killing 26-year-old Blake Mohs inside of a Pleasanton Home Depot, told investigators she fired the gun "accidentally" after Mohs, a loss prevention employee, tried to wrestle a stolen item out of her hands.

Police say Benicia Knapps was holding her 21-month-old toddler when she took off in a getaway car driven by 31-year-old David Guillory that had been parked by the back loading dock of the store.

The car was quickly tracked by an Alameda County Sheriff's Office aircraft to Knapps' home in Oakland.

When the deputies arrived, they saw her get out of the car holding her toddler and hand the child to her grandmother, before they say, Guillory ran and hid.

"As soon as there was confirmation of where that vehicle was and that vehicle was stopped, the deputies were able to quickly make contact and get those folks into custody," Lt. Tya Modeste, a spokesperson for the Alameda County Sheriff's Office said.

The sheriff's office says Knapps was sitting alone in the backseat of a patrol car for about 10 minutes, as deputies waited for Pleasanton police to take her into their custody.

When a deputy went back to check on her and move the patrol car, that's when they realized, something was terribly wrong.

"And noticed that she was kind of slouched down in the seat and so he opened the back door and called her name and her body was limp, she was unresponsive," Modeste said.

That deputy then called his partner over for help.

They say, despite being handcuffed, she was somehow able to wrap a seatbelt around her neck three times.

"They were able to kind of sit her up, push her head back and untangle the seatbelt from around her neck. At that point, they pulled her out of the car, and while she was on the ground, she took an enormous breath and regained consciousness," she said. "Deputies absolutely saved a life, they did."

The sheriff's office says they take an oath to protect life, no matter what.

"What she's accused of doing before, has no relevance in the fact that she was attempting to take her own life and was suffering a medical emergency and deputies take an oath that they're going to protect life and that's what they did," she said.

It's something Mohs' long-time friend, and fellow Eagle Scout, Vincent Tran has mixed feelings over.

"I'm just glad that she'll be able to live out her sentence, and be punished and she will hopefully understand the consequences of her own actions and kind of take on full justice for this," Tran said. "Blake was one of the greatest people that I've ever known."

Meanwhile, Mohs' parents in Newark, are focusing on remembering their son as the selfless, Disney-loving man who dreamed of someday also taking his own oath to protect life, by becoming a police officer.

"Just because he's not here right now, doesn't mean that all of those lives, all of the people that he touched, aren't going to pass that forward," Lorie Mohs, the victim's mother said. "Blake had a short life. Only 26 years. But he lived it."

The Alameda County Sheriff's Office formally filed a laundry list of charges against Knapps and Guillory on Thursday afternoon.

Knapps is being charged with murder, along with several enhancements and possession of a firearm by a felon with priors.

Both are being charged with child abuse.

Guillory is being charged with accessory after the fact for knowledge of the robbery and evading an officer.

He is expected to be arraigned in court on Friday morning at 9 a.m.

Knapps is not in the custody of the Alameda County Sheriff's Office yet and is still being treated in the hospital.