Store clerk shoots armed
Excerpted from original
"Store clerk shoots gunman"
Times, published March 31,
ST. PETERSBURG, Florida -- Wearing a blue scarf that
concealed his mouth and nose, the man who entered the Food Max grocery store
Friday afternoon headed straight to the counter and pointed a shiny revolver at
"I ain't going to shoot nobody . . . I
just need the money," he said, according to Cardrick Cason, a customer who
was standing at the counter.
The clerk fumbled at the cash register, and the
owner quickly came to help, police said. Several shoppers froze and nervously
watched from the store's aisles.
As the man grabbed the money from owner Michael
Issa and slightly lowered his pistol, the clerk quickly pulled a gun from a
drawer behind the counter, Issa said. The suspect shuffled back toward the door
as the clerk shot three times, Cason said.
"It was quick," Cason said of the
Lorenzo Darlington, 20, was taken from the Food
Max, 1400 18th Ave. S, about 2:15 p.m. to Bayfront Medical Center, where he was
in critical condition Friday night, police and hospital officials said. Police
said Darlington was shot at least twice in the upper body. Cason said he saw
blood coming from the man's head and rib area.
The police account of the shooting differed
slightly from that of Issa and the other witnesses. Police said the clerk shot
the man while Issa was opening the register.
Issa, whose store also was robbed last week,
said police told him they would not charge the clerk, whom he declined to name.
Police also did not release the clerk's name.
Issa said he was scared the suspect would
"That's it?" Issa said the man
screamed after he handed him the money.
"Damn it, that's it!" Issa screamed
back as seven witnesses looked on.
Issa's three clerks told him that Darlington
was the man who robbed the store last week.
"My guys recognized him," said Issa,
who did not know how much cash he gave the man. "He had the same voice,
same hair sticking out of the side of his scarf. He came in with a machine gun
last week. Last time it was so easy for him."
After last week's robbery -- the first since
Issa bought the store last year -- Issa moved his gun closer to the register.
Issa said he checked with police before putting the gun in the store.
Darlington has been arrested several times on
charges of marijuana possession, according to arrest records.
Cason said the clerks were hesitant to call
Some onlookers said the clerk had the right to
shoot the man.
"If someone tries to rob your store, you
protect yourself," said Renee Graham. "That's the last time he'll ever
do that. I don't think they should charge the clerk."
"We feel sorry for what happened,"
Issa said. "It was absolutely self-defense. We were fearing for our
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