NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Metro police are searching for a gunman after a security guard was shot with a flare gun while attempting to stop a shoplifter at an Antioch Kroger late Tuesday night.

Officers responded around 10:30 p.m. to a shooting at the store on Mt. View Road off Bell Road near Interstate 24.

(Photo: WKRN)

Police said the security guard had followed a man outside because he appeared to be leaving with unpaid items hidden in his pants. He wanted to take a photo of the man and ban him from the store, he told investigators.

As the suspected shoplifter got into the passenger seat of a tan Ford Explorer, police said the guard deployed pepper spray. Officers said the driver of the Explorer then fired a flare gun at the security guard, striking him in the chest.

The security guard, thinking he had been hit with a bullet, fired at the Explorer, hitting the suspected shoplifter in the back, according to detectives.

The Explorer, which had Marshall County tags, was found around 11:15 p.m. on Brewer Drive near Tusculum Road, where police said they located the suspected shoplifter who was shot.

(Photo: WKRN)

During an interview, police said the suspected shoplifter admitted that he was inside the Kroger and owned a flare gun, but claimed he was not the one who fired the weapon.

He explained that he did not know the driver, but had been asked by him not to call police, because he had active warrants and needed time to flee.

The suspected shoplifter was transported to Vanderbilt University Medical Center for treatment of his gunshot wound. No charges have been filed against him, as of Wednesday morning.

The security guard suffered burns and was treated at a hospital, but has since been released, according to investigators.

As police search for the driver of the Explorer, they urge anyone with information to contact Nashville Crime Stoppers at 615-74-CRIME.