General District Court Judge Matthew P. Snow today found probable cause to send the case against Steven Thodos, who was charged with 11 felonies following a January Walmart shootout, to the May 17 grand jury for review.
During a more-than two-hour preliminary hearing on Thursday, the prosecution team of Commonwealth’s Attorney Buta Biberaj and Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Angela Vernail, and Assistant Public Defenders Adam Pouilliard and Elli Shahin, questioned three witnesses about the incident that took place shortly before 5 p.m. Jan. 2 at the Sterling Walmart.
Asset Protection Associate Muhammed Amin testified that he noticed Thodos, 33, in the Walmart with the same merchandise on Jan. 2 as he had two days prior. Amin said he noticed that Thodos skipped scanning some of those items at the self-checkout register. According to Biberaj, the unscanned merchandise amounted to $64.03.
Amin said he then caught up with Thodos between the double-door entrance to the store and walked him into the loss prevention room near the entrance before notifying the Sheriff’s Office.
The first deputy to arrive on the scene was Camron Gentry. According to witness testimony, Walmart security footage and footage from the body-worn camera on Dep. Charles Ewing, Gentry attempted to handcuff Thodos, who resisted. Thodos then pulled out a gun and began shooting.
Former loss prevention employee Jade Puloskie said she saw Thodos shoot at the ground once before raising the handgun and shooting at Gentry.
“I actually watched as Gentry fell to the ground,” Puloskie said.
The exchange in the loss prevention room left Gentry incapacitated on the floor with four gunshot wounds and “blood all over the place,” according to Amin’s testimony. Gentry would spend 42 days in the trauma unit of Reston Hospital and undergo multiple surgeries.
Puloskie and Amin also had gunshot wounds to their legs.
Ewing fired three rounds at Thodos as he fled the store, striking Thodos in the arm.
Biberaj said 10 shots were fired in all, seven from Thodos’ gun and three from Ewing’s.
After running out of the store, Thodos stole a pickup truck, drove south on Rt. 28, crashed the truck and fled on foot in Fairfax County, according to statements from the Sheriff’s Office. After a nearly two-hour search, Fairfax police arrested Thodos on Pennsboro Drive in Chantilly.
He was charged with two counts of attempted first-degree murder, two counts of aggravated malicious wounding, one count of malicious wounding, four counts of use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and one count of auto theft. Biberaj and Vernail agreed to not prosecute the auto theft charge.
A grand jury on Monday will meet to review the case. If it returns indictments, prosecutors and Thodos’ defense counsel will meet May 18 in Circuit Court to schedule a trial date.