Saturday, September 20, 2008

Indiana: Clerk’s shots miss robber

Muncie, Indiana

From the Star Press of September 17, 2008
Clerk’s shots miss robber

Indiana law allows Hoosiers to defend themselves, even with deadly force, and Tuesday morning a woman working behind the counter of Zipp's Deli did just that.

Police said she fired shots at a teen who jumped the counter and tried to take money from her cash register. Even though the black male suspect never showed a weapon, he and the clerk struggled before he eventually got away, said Muncie Police Department Lt. Al Williams.

Police are continuing their search for him, as well as for another young black man who was waiting across Madison Street. Witnesses said the two fled on foot to 613 E. Fifth St., an apparently abandoned home just a block away from the store.

By the time Williams and other officers arrived there, all they found was a disheveled home. The front and back doors both were knocked off their hinges and standing open, and the house was full of junk and trash. The attempted robbery suspect is described as a young black man, likely in his teens, between 5', 6" and 5', 8. He was wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt.

The clerk was not injured.

Williams declined to say how many bullets were fired. And though there's a bullet hole in the front door of the convenience store, it's unknown whether the suspect was hit.

Zipp's is a frequent stop for local police. Since Oct. 10, 2000, police have been called to the store at 425 E. Willard St. 360 times. Many of those calls are for traffic problems or minor infractions, but records indicate Tuesday's attempted robbery was the third of 2008, and the eighth of the past eight years.

This isn't the first time a Zipp's clerk has fired a gun at a robber. A convicted bandit was shot by a clerk in March 2002 after he robbed the store. He was later found, injured, in a home, along with cash that had been taken from the store.

And while prosecutors are leery of making comments that could sound like an endorsement of violence, there are laws, here in Indiana and elsewhere, that allow victims of crimes to protect themselves.

When Gov. Mitch Daniels signed new legislation in 2006, it didn't bring a massive change. Instead, it clarified that a person can defend himself with a weapon and doesn't have to run away from the suspect first.

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