Store owner fatally shoots would-be robber
November 27, 2007 - 10:13PM
A man who allegedly tried to rob a liquor store in southeast Colorado Springs on Tuesday was fatally shot by the store’s owner, a police spokesman said.
A 911 call reporting a robbery was made by the owner, whose name was not released, at about 4:51 p.m., police said. When officers arrived at Jet-Way Liquors, 1645 Jet Wing Drive, they found the suspect with a gunshot wound to his chest, said police spokesman Lt. Skip Arms.
Police said the man entered the liquor store, displayed a weapon and demanded cash from the owner, who was behind the counter. The owner fired one shot at the suspect, police said.
“I was outside cleaning my mom’s car when I heard a loud boom, a gunshot,” said Frankie Gomez, 15, who lives near the liquor store. “Then I saw an ambulance and came down to check it out.”
The suspect was taken to Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead about 5:25 p.m, Arms said. The suspect, a Hispanic in his early 20s, has not been identified, police said.
An autopsy is scheduled today. The death is the 22nd homicide in the city this year.
The suspect and the store owner were the only people in Jet-Way Liquors at the time of the shooting, Arms said. Investigators were trying to determine what led to the shooting or what kind of exchange was made between the suspect and the store owner, who is in his early 70s.
Under Colorado law, workers in businesses are allowed to protect themselves from imminent injury. The owner was not arrested, although the 4th Judicial District Attorney’s Office will determine if any charges are warranted.
Neighbors of the strip mall in which Jet-Way Liquors is located said the owner often was seen playing with his dog in the parking lot.
“He lets us buy sodas from him on hot days,” Gomez said.
Janice Sturlaugson said the owner is friendly to her when she stops in once in a while to buy a bottle of wine.
“Once a year that liquor store gets robbed,” said Sturlaugson, who was holiday shopping with her children at True Urban Hiphop Clothing, also in the same strip mall as Jet-Way Liquors. “Looks like they just got tired of it. Looks like they were ready this time.”
Sturlaugson, who has lived in the area for 15 years, said the strip mall, for the most part, is peaceful. Gomez disagreed.
“There’s always stuff going on. A liquor store on Chelton got robbed last week,” he said, referring to the Nov. 20 robbery at Schnapps Box liquor store at 2515 S. Chelton Road, a mile south of Jet-Way Liquors.
Police have not announced any arrests in that case, and Arms said investigators did not know if the suspect in Tuesday’s robbery is thought to have committed any other robberies in the city. There have been 10 since Nov. 19, according to police reports. The robberies have included gunmen hitting a gas station, a payday loan store and a dry cleaners. Two were in apartment parking lots.
Police have not announced any arrests in the robberies.