Minnesota Verizon cell phone store clerk shoots robber in gunfire exchange

INVER GROVE HEIGHTS, Minn. -- A man who allegedly was trying to rob a cellphone store in Inver Grove Heights on Thursday morning was shot by the store clerk during an exchange of gunfire, according to police.The man, who is believed to be in his ...
Police respond to a Verizon cellphone store robbery on Thursday. St. Paul Pioneer Press photo

INVER GROVE HEIGHTS, Minn. -- A man who allegedly was trying to rob a cellphone store in Inver Grove Heights on Thursday morning was shot by the store clerk during an exchange of gunfire, according to police.

The man, who is believed to be in his mid to late 20s, was taken to Regions Hospital in St. Paul with several gunshot wounds, Lt. Joshusa Otis said. His condition is unknown.

An accomplice who fled the store after the shooting remains at large.

Police were called to The Cellular Connection, at the northeast corner of Cahill Avenue and Concord Boulevard, about 11 a.m. for an armed robbery in progress, Otis said. While officers were responding, dispatch indicated shots had been fired and at least one person had been shot.

When they arrived at the scene, police found the man near the back of the store.

During a preliminary investigation, police learned multiple gunshots were fired inside the business.

According to police, the two suspects, one of them brandishing a gun, approached the male store clerk in the employee area in the back of the store.

While being held at gunpoint, the clerk drew his own gun from his waistband and shot the suspect who had the gun. The second suspect ran out of the store and fled in a vehicle.

An employee of a dentist office told police dispatch the suspect fled in a light-blue minivan with a dent in the rear bumper, according to dispatch audio posted online by MN Police Clips. He was wearing a green colored rain jacket and fled south on Concord Boulevard.

South St. Paul police, a St. Paul police K-9, the Minnesota State Patrol and the Dakota County sheriff’s office helped search the area for the second suspect; he was not located.

The motive behind the robbery - whether they were after cash or cell phones - was unclear, Otis said.

“Whatever their intent was, it occurred behind the retail sales floor,” he said.

The gun used in the robbery was recovered at the scene.

The store clerk had a permit to carry a firearm, Otis said