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Pierce Co. deputies say armed robber shot two gas stations clerks in two days

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MIDLAND, Wash. -- Pierce County deputies are asking residents to stay clear of Portland Avenue and 104th Street East in Midland as they search for a man they believed shot two gas station clerks in two separate armed robberies over the past two days.

They said the suspect who shot a Chevron clerk just before 6 a.m. Thursday likely is the same man who shot a 7-11 clerk in the leg in Tacoma early Wednesday morning. Tacoma Police spokeswoman Loretta Cool said the suspect shot the 7-11 clerk because he didn't move fast enough when he demanded money.

Suspect described as a black male, at least 6' tall, slender; wearing a black ski mask, black hooded jacket, dark blue sweats, purple gloves. Armed with a handgun. (Pierce County Sheriff's Office)

"The clerk gave him money and then he wanted him to open the other till. The clerk was attempting to open something and was moving too slowly for the robber so the robber shot him," she said.

Pierce County Sheriff's Office spokesman Ed Troyer said the clerk at the Chevron station did exactly as he was told: put his hands up and handed the suspect the money. He said the suspect took two steps back and shot him, despite the clerk giving him the money.

"One of the things we teach is when you are a victim of a robbery and somebody has a weapon, you give them the money," Troyer said. "You don't chase them, and in this particular case, the guy did everything right. He put his hands up, gave him the money, he didn't confront him but the suspect, just for sport for lack of a better term, shot him anyway."

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Warning: This video may be considered disturbing.

The clerk suffered serious injuries.

The repeated shootings have neighbors worried.

“I’m just afraid he’s going to end up killing somebody and I wouldn’t be out here at night. I really think until they catch this person, they need to close these stores at night,” said neighbor Randy Pete.

Some convenience store customers said they plan to continue shopping but only during daylight hours.

“Until they catch this person it’s going to be pretty bad. It makes you not even want to come around,” said Pete.

Residents in the area are asked to stay indoors, and drivers are asked to find an alternate route.

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