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Widow of slain security guard wants answers after her husband was killed confronting alleged shoplifter

Shaunte Tate of Fredericksburg says she made her husband promise to text when he worked at the Giant in Oxon Hill, Md. Both Willie Tate and shoplifter died Friday.

OXON HILL, Md. — A deadly shooting at a grocery store has left a newlywed woman grieving the loss of her husband, and struggling to understand his death.

Shaunte Tate knew something was wrong Friday when she didn't get her hourly text from her husband, a 43-year-old security guard working at a Giant Food in Oxon Hill, Maryland. 

Officers with the Prince George's County Police Department said a woman shot Willie Tate when he tried to make her put back some items she was allegedly trying to steal. He returned fire, and both Willie Tate and the alleged shoplifter were killed.

"It's just so unreal - who goes to the supermarket with a gun?" Shaunte Tate asked. "Over some TV dinners, that's what the items were -- a few TV dinners that he would have gladly bought. It wasn't worth his life. It wasn't worth her life."

Shaunte and Willie Tate had been married a little over a year. They had an agreement. She was so worried about his safety when he worked at the Giant that he promised to text or call once an hour. 

"I knew something was wrong when I didn't get my message," she said. 

The new widow said she hasn't been sleeping much since her husband's death, and keeps waking up hoping to find him sleeping next to her. She keeps replaying a conversation they had the day before he died, when her husband asked her where she saw herself in 50 years. 

"I flipped it, and I said, 'Where do you see yourself 50 years from now?' And he said, 'Right next to you, pushing each other in wheelchairs,'" Shaunte said, breaking in tears over the memory. "That is one of the most beautiful memories I have of him, because I know that was our future, and I know he wouldn't be any other place than by my side."

Police say Willie Tate died at the scene. His alleged killer, Zaila Akida, died at the hospital. 

"She was only 20," Shaunte Tate said of Akida. "Was it really worth it? She could have just walked away. Just like the rest of them. Nobody was going to jail or anything. She could have just walked out the door."

Willie Tate worked for Wolf Security, a security contractor for Giant. Felismina Andrade, a spokesperson for the grocery store released a statement following his death. 

"We are heartbroken over the events of November 4th and are cooperating in earnest with Prince George's County police as they continue investigating. While we do not have information other than what has already been made public by law enforcement, we will support a transparent process for our community and the families as they begin the healing process."

Willie Tate had three daughters and five stepchildren. The couple had hoped in five years to save enough money to leave their family the house they just bought in Fredericksburg and open a bed and breakfast in Belize.

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