By Carolyn Tuft and Kim Bell
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
EAST ST. LOUIS -- A robbery attempt turned deadly early today when a store clerk shot one robber in the chest, police say.
Illinois State Police Lt. James Morrisey said the shooting happened just after 3 a.m. Thursday at Quality Market, at 10th Street and Bond Avenue.
The dead man is a 26-year-old resident of the Metro East area. His name has not yet been released.
Four men entered the store after forcing their way in through a locked front door.
The store is open 24 hours, but customers have to stay outside after 11 p.m. and business is conducted through a small window.
Somehow, the men were able to force open the locked door. The lock may have been weakened after being damaged in a break-in a few weeks ago, Morrisey said.
The clerk, a 21-year-old, had a pistol for his protection.
"The robbers wrestled with the clerk over the gun, the gun discharged during the struggle and struck one of the bandits in the chest," Morrisey said.
A surveillance video confirms the clerk's account, Morrisey said.
The other robbers ran off, taking their wounded friend with them. The wounded man ended up at Kenneth Hall hospital, where he died a short time later.
Two men who brought him to the hospital were arrested. Police are looking for more suspects.
Morrisey said investigators aren't yet sure if the men they arrested are the ones who helped rob the store.
"We are still in process of the investigation," Morrisey said. "When get all of it together, we will present it to the St. Clair County prosecutors to determine what charges are warranted."
Under Illinois law, the accomplices in the robbery attempt could be charged with their friend's murder.
One thing investigators are looking at is whether the clerk was allowed to have a gun at that store. Police believe the clerk's family owns the store.