Warning: May be graphic to some.
Two brazen suspects robbed a 7-Eleven downtown last night, shot at (and missed) police officers at the scene and then managed to escape. CitiWatch camera operators captured the entire thing.
The incident happened at the convenience store at E. Saratoga and N. Charles streets, below the Charles Towers apartment complex. A release from city police says it unfolded around 1:10 a.m., when CitiWatch camera monitors notified police of a robbery in progress.
“These two bad guys didn’t have a care in the world,” remarked police chief spokesman T.J. Smith at a press conference.
CitiWatch footage shows the men walking into the store, and surveillance video (starting at 2:51) from inside the 7-Eleven shows one of the men brandishing a gun – believed to be a TEC-9 with an extended magazine, Smith said – to rob the clerks. The store video also shows the suspects eyeing the back door for an escape, though one of the clerks is seen signaling to police outside that they should watch that exit, foiling the men’s escape.
After the suspects realize they can’t get out the back, they run to the front door, where they’re greeted by officers. Three cops and both suspects fired their weapons, Smith said. There are no signs that any of them were hit.
A third video from an officer’s body camera shows him standing outside and shouting at the suspects inside the store just before they open fire.
“It’s an absolute blessing that we don’t have officers shot,” Smith said, later adding, “This happened quick. This is not Hollywood…they walked up in the middle of a robbery where two bad guys didn’t give a crap who they were gonna shoot.”
The CitiWatch camera then captures both suspects escaping while the officers duck for cover. The one who fired on police ran up N. Charles Street, while the other escaped on E. Saratoga Street, Smith said. Both were armed, according to police.
Authorities are now searching hospitals for both suspects, and have asked the public for help. The first one was a tall black male wearing a mask and dark coat, police say; the second was described as a “shorter black male wearing all black clothing with a white scarf tied around his face.”
The FBI, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and other agencies are offering $24,000 in combined reward money for details leading to the suspects’ arrests. Tipsters can call detectives at 410-366-6341.
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