Gas station employee killed in overnight shooting - FOX 10 News | myfoxphoenix.com

Gas station employee killed in overnight shooting

Posted: Updated:
MESA, Ariz. -

Mesa police are investigating a convenience store shooting near Gilbert and Broadway that took place Friday night.

According to authorities, the suspect walked into the Valero gas station and got into a confrontation with an employee.

"...there's some very short exchange of words.. at that point, it appears he takes out a handgun and fired, striking the clerk, clerk goes down, explained Det. Steve Berry.

Officers who responded to the shooting found the clerk suffering from a gunshot wound.  He was rushed to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

As detectives searched for evidence, the gas station's owner put up a wanted poster in the window -- an image of the suspected gunman.

"It was not a robbery.. he came in for the intent to kill," said a person at the scene who did not want to give their name.

Video cameras captured the crime, described by those who saw it as a 10 second killing.  Berry says the call for help came in around 11:15 p.m.

"There was one other person in the store at the time," added Berry.  "He was near the rear of the store, so we're not sure exactly at this point what he did or didn't see.. heard the commotion, came to the front and obviously called in from there."

According to police, the suspect entered the store through the north doors -- doors the victim's former co-workers say he always locked during an overnight shift.

"He was a really great guy, but he didn't take anything from anyone," said Kim Lanville.

Up until very recently, Lanville worked at the Valero and strongly believes what happened may have been a retaliation.  She stopped by the store with her fiance in hopes she might recognize the suspect.

"If it was on purpose or not, this needs to stop," said David Rozmoski, a friend of the victim.

The store's owner adds, "This is a safe place.  It is a scary situation.. a freak accident."

According to the owner, the victim worked at the store for about a year.  He was in his 40s, a father and a devoted employee whose life ended too violently and too soon.

Detectives have not determined if this case is a robbery or if the suspect and victim knew each other.

Police say the suspect is described as a black male in his 20s, with a medium build, wearing a dark-colored long sleeve shirt, light-colored pants and a light-colored baseball cap with a black rim.

The suspect is considered armed and dangerous.  Anyone with information on the suspect or if they were in the area between 11 p.m. and Midnight are urged to call the Mesa police at (480) 644-2211 or Silent Witness at (480) WITNESS.

The victim's name has not been released.

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