A failed attempt to rob a Southeast Roanoke pharmacy left the owner injured and a suspect dead early Tuesday afternoon, police said.
Officers were called just after 3 p.m. to Sanco Drug in the 1200 block of Riverland Road, according to police spokeswoman Aisha Johnson. They found two males who had suffered gunshot wounds.
Johnson said a victim, who was identified later in the day as Sanco owner and chief pharmacist Bob Kennedy, was taken to Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital. She said the other victim is a suspect in the attempted robbery of the store. He was pronounced dead at the scene. She said they are still trying to determine his identity.
Hospital spokesman Eric Earnhart said Kennedy, 61, of Hardy had been treated and released.
Kennedy, reached at home Tuesday night, said he did not wish to discuss the incident.
Sanco Drug sits near the Roanoke River, adjacent to Riverland Road's notoriously busy intersection with Garden City Boulevard.
Shane Spradlin, who lives on nearby Goodman Road, said he was sitting in his car at the stoplight when he saw a man with a black sweatshirt over his head going into the pharmacy.
"He was just in a hurry," Spradlin said. He said he then heard what he thought was a gunshot, followed by four more reports.
"I couldn't tell who was shooting at who," he recalled.
The pharmacy has been the target of at least three attempted robberies in the past 10 years.
In 1999, a gunman tried to rob the store but fled after a clerk called police.
The following year, a Roanoke couple, armed with a BB pistol, tried to steal a bottle of the painkiller Oxycontin, but the pharmacist set off the alarm.
In 2003, a knife-wielding man was arrested after he tried to force the pharmacist to fill a prescription that was invalid.
"Somebody a couple weeks ago tried to rob him but he run them off," said Willie Salyers of Pike Street, who said he's lived in the neighborhood for 40 years.
Nick Carr of Garden City Boulevard said Kennedy eventually reinforced the entrance with steel security bars.
"My wife's pregnant and that's where we usually get prescriptions filled," said Andrew Wright, who lives nearby. "Town ain't safe nowhere no more."