A convenience store robbery-gone-wrong ended with one suspect dead and westbound Interstate 10 traffic backed up for nearly two hours Friday.
Three armed suspects entered the Y and M Market in the 1500 block of Second Street in Coachella about 11:30 a.m., according to the Riverside County Sheriff?s Department.
That's when they encountered something they may not have expected.
"The store clerk armed himself and shot one of the suspects," Sheriff?s Deputy Herlinda Valenzuela said.
It wasn't immediately clear what type of weapons the suspects had or how many times the man was shot.
Neighbors, though, said they heard three gunshots at the time of the robbery.
Emergency crews responded to the scene and took the unidentified man to John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital, where he died.
The sheriff's department is investigating the incident as a homicide, but the employee has not been charged.
The other two suspects fled the scene in a small sport utility vehicle, which may have been a green GMC Jimmy, Valenzuela said.
"They left the injured man behind," she said.
The suspect vehicle collided with another one near Tyler Street and Avenue 50. The second vehicle followed the suspects onto I-10 and confronted them in an area between Cook and Washington streets.
Authorities arrived at the scene and shut down all westbound lanes until about 1:45 p.m., according to the California Highway Patrol.
The two men were arrested on unspecified charges and their names, ages and residences have not been released.
Neighbors think the suspects were not from the area because all the nearby residents know the family that owns the market.
"The owner?s good ? he?s a nice guy," said Jerry Larios, who lives down the street from the market.
The owner declined to comment on the incident, but neighbors said the market has been around for at least 15 years and had been robbed several times.
The Desert Sun reported in January 2002 that a robbery there left a suspect injured from two gunshot wounds.
The owner said in 2002 it was the third time he was robbed at gunpoint in four years.
First sentence calls it a robbery gone wrong, but I would call it a robbery gone good. 1 BG is now wormfood, the other 2 scumbags are off the streets, hopefully for a long time. I hope the 2 surviving BG's will get the murder charges put on them.
Thankfully it doesn't appear anyone was hurt during the chase on the highway.