The man fatally shot inside a discount store Wednesday afternoon was killed by an armed employee who is a licensed special police officer, authorities said.

Prince George’s County police identified the man slain in the Discount Mart in Seat Pleasant, Md., as Joseph Dance, 49.

Dance, of Riverdale, was suspected of shoplifting laundry detergent at the store before he assaulted the store employee, according to police.

Officers were called to the store in the 400 block of Eastern Avenue about 2:20 p.m. Wednesday and found Dance with a single gunshot wound to his abdomen, police said. He was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Maj. Brian Reilly, head of the criminal investigations division of the Prince George’s police, said Dance had been stopped in the store because he was suspected of shoplifting a jug of liquid laundry detergent.

After employees in the store took back the laundry detergent, Dance left the store but was stopped a second time, Reilly said Thursday. He was found with a second jug of detergent and taken back inside the store, Reilly said.

During a “discussion” in the store, Dance attacked the special police officer and “began to repeatedly punch him,” Reilly said.

There were “non-stop punches from Mr. Dance, at which time during being assaulted, the employee displayed his handgun,” Reilly said, and Dance was shot once in the stomach.

The employee has been a special police officer for three years, Reilly said. The employee was in plainclothes, displayed a gun on his hip and was wearing a badge, police said.

Dance was not armed, police said.

When reached by phone Thursday evening, a member of Dance’s family declined to comment.

Several people in the store witnessed the incident, and surveillance cameras recorded the shooting.

The employee has not been charged. The case will be presented to a grand jury for review, police said.

A woman who answered the phone at Discount Mart on Thursday said the store did not have any comment.

Jennifer Jenkins and Rachel Chason contributed to this report.