Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Michigan: Man who assisted wounded store owner says he knows the suspect in Leonard Short Stop robbery

Grand Rapids, Michigan

From Grand Rapids News of March 31, 2009
Man who assisted wounded store owner says he knows the suspect in Leonard Short Stop robbery

When Amos Bell spotted the owner of the Leonard Short Stop chasing a masked gunman Tuesday morning, he didn't hesitate to help.

He got out of the car he was riding in, and gave chase.

"(The owner) was running up the street with a gun," said Bell, 18. "I knew it wasn't going to be nothing good."

Bell and the owner, who had been shot in the leg in the 10:40 a.m. holdup, lost sight of the robber, but police caught the suspect a half-hour later hiding in some bushes. Police brought Bell and the hobbled owner, whose name wasn't released, to the scene of the capture to identify the robber.

Once there, it got a little more complicated for Bell: Not only was he a friend to the store owner, stopping to chat every day, but he knew the alleged robber, too.

"It was one of my buddies, that's the bad thing about it," Bell said. "A guy I'm cool with."

Still, he said, he could not defend the robbery, particularly hitting the store, at 1038 Leonard St. NW, that serves the neighborhood and seems to sell virtually everything.

"He's a nice guy," Bell said of the store's owner. "This is the corner store. He's just trying to help us out."

Police caught up to the suspect just after 11 a.m., and found a handgun, too. Officers were responding to a call that a store owner, armed with a long gun, was chasing a man who had just shot him.

The owner told Bell that he was shot in the leg when he refused the robber's demand for cash. Police recovered the $800 reported stolen.

The owner returned to his store after Tuesday's shooting, walking with a limp and the sides of his denims slit for examination by paramedics. Awaiting ambulances soon left after the man said he didn't need to go to the hospital, Bell said.

The store remained closed after Tuesday's shooting.

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