Business owner follows, shoots robber armed with toy gun

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ST. LOUIS (KTVI) – A robbery suspect is hospitalized after apparently trying to hit one store too many along South Grand in south St. Louis.  Police say the owner of the first store he tried to rob Wednesday morning followed him, and then shot him as he tried to hit another business.

It began a little before 8 am at the Kaiser Grand Food Mart at 5008 South Grand.  Police say the man went inside and passed a note to the cashier announcing the robbery.  The  clerk handed the suspect $100 and then yelled for the owner, the suspect ran for it. Police say the store’s owner followed him outside, then got in his car and pursued him up the street where the suspect went into a Walgreens.

When the store owner went into the Walgreens, the suspect was waving what appeared to be a gun after demanding money from the cash register.  He pulled his own weapon and ordered the man to the ground, but he didn’t comply.

“He pointed a gun at the Kaiser Mart man and the Kaiser Mart man shot the bad guy,” St. Louis Police Lt. Ed Harper said.  “He shot the suspect.”

That suspect, identified only as a 32-year-old white male, was taken to the hospital with a gunshot wound to his shoulder according to police.  It turned out he was using a toy gun to commit the robbery.

Some neighbors in the area say the violence is a sign of what’s been happening in their neighborhood.

Lisa Demsko, who owns Lisa Michelle’s Hair Studio across from the Walgreens, applauded what the store owner did.

“I say good for him, because we’re tired of it.”

She’s referring to what she describes as a constant jump in crime in recent years.  Her station in the salon is home to the normal combs and scissors, but there’s now a pistol sitting there as well while she cuts clients’ hair.

“I’ve lived here, gosh, 43 years,” she said, “and this used to be the neighborhood to live in and it seems like these days that crime is more the rule than the exception, and we’re tired of it.”

The store owner, who has not been identified, has a concealed carry permit and was authorized to have the weapon.  Police say they are still investigating the case, but it appears unlikely there will be any charges filed against the owner.

Meanwhile police say they don’t necessarily condone his chasing of that suspect.

“To follow from a distance I guess would be all right, but to try to apprehend him.  No,” Lt. Harper said.

Late Wednesday afternoon, the St. Louis Circuit Attorney's office charged the suspect with: robbery 1st degree, armed criminal action, attempted stealing and attempted robbery.

 

 

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