April 12, 2013

Prosecutors: Robber stood over store owner and fired six times

A store owner was shot in the abdomen while trying to stop a robbery Wednesday in Kansas City. Even while wounded, he tried to protect the robbery victims.

A Kansas City convenience store owner was getting the best of a robber in a tussle Wednesday when the owner lost his footing in the rain-slickened parking lot.

He nearly collapsed, but refused to let go of the robber’s hood. That’s when the robber pulled a gun and fired six times, court documents contend, hitting the owner twice in the abdomen, severing his bowels.

On Thursday, Jackson County prosecutors charged the alleged gunman, Murad A. Jones, 19, with four felonies — robbery, assault and two counts of armed criminal action — in the 3:45 p.m. botched holdup at the Food Shop at 3700 E. Gregory Blvd. Jones remained in jail Thursday.

The 34-year-old store owner remained in critical but stable condition at a hospital. He told witnesses as he lay wounded waiting for an ambulance that he was expecting a baby.

“He said he wasn’t giving up,” said Phyllis Harrison, one of the robbery victims. “We’ve been praying for him.”

According to Harrison, police reports and court documents, the incident began when Harrison and a friend were headed to the house of a man who is the father to her friend’s child. On the way, the child’s father’s cousin flagged them down. He asked for a ride to the store. A friend of the cousin also wanted a ride. The women were hesitant because they didn’t know him.

The driver reluctantly agreed, and the two men climbed into the hatchback area of the Dodge Durango. Three children under the age of 9 were buckled in the back seat.

When they arrived at the store, Harrison and the cousin went inside. The man who remained in the vehicle, according to police reports, jumped into the front passenger seat, unwittingly sitting on the driver’s purse. He allegedly pulled a gun and said: “You know what this is. Where are your purses?”

The driver panicked, hopped out of the Durango and screamed for someone to call 911. Harrison and the cousin came out of the store with the owner as the robber grabbed the women’s purses from the Durango.

The robber, who tucked the gun in his jacket pocket, acted as if he and the woman had been playing around.

“I’m with them,” the gunman said, as he tried to open the door of the Durango.

But the store owner recognized that a robbery was occurring. He grabbed the robber’s shoulder, closed the door and struggled to get the robber to the ground.

The owner told the driver to “run, run, run,” so she slid under the Durango. Harrison jumped back into the vehicle to protect the children.

As the men tussled, the robber dropped the purses, and the owner slipped, giving the robber just enough time to pull the gun and fire. The robber then grabbed the purses and ran away.

The robbery victims and another customer propped up the owner’s head, held an umbrella over him and pressed shirts against his wounds as they waited for the ambulance. Even while he lay wounded, Harrison said the owner asked the victims whether their children were OK and expressed concern that the robber would get away.

But a police sergeant nearby heard the gunshots and chased the gunman, arresting him about a block away. Jones still had one victim’s purse, court records said.

Jones admitted he committed the robbery and shooting, according to court records. He told police he thought the employee was going to hold him for police.

Harrison said the owner stepped up when a lot of people might have looked the other way.

“He put his life on the line for us,” she said. “He just went right for him. He stopped him from getting back in the vehicle where there were three little kids.”

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