Friday, July 9, 2010

Easy Money, Easy Death

Tyrone Roy Pinkney

Ten Seconds
by Robert A. Waters

Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into its place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.—Matthew 26:52, King James Version

In ten seconds, it was all over. Anwar Jouda, 36, and Sami Hammad, 23, were working behind the counter of the Community Food Market in Delray Beach, Florida when a man burst through the door. His face was covered with a black bandana and he carried a gun in his right hand.

The clerks didn’t need a roadmap--they knew a robbery when they saw one.

Thunderous cracks of gunfire rocketed from the robber’s semiautomatic. Bullets thudded against the counter as the clerks ducked for cover. Two customers bolted from the store and ran for their lives. The robber, single-focused, sprayed the counter with bullets and made straight for the clerks.

Hammad grabbed a Smith & Wesson .40-caliber pistol from his waist. He raised the weapon above the counter, aimed it at the gunman, and squeezed off several rounds. In the den and confusion, he couldn’t remember how many.

As if in slow-mo, the robber screeched on brakes, turned and charged back out the door he’d entered.

Ten seconds that felt like an hour. Two shaken clerks fumbling with cell phones to call 911. Sirens screaming through the darkness.

Minutes later, police found the suspect lying on a sidewalk not far from the store. He’d made it a full sixty feet before collapsing. He still clutched his gun, still had the bandana over his face. His bravado was gone, however, as blood drained from his chest, pooling on the sidewalk. Before an ambulance could arrive, the gunman was dead.

“All you can do is react,” Hammad told reporters the next day. “If I would have thought [it through], I would not be here.”

Community Food Store has been robbed four times in the last few years. Speaking of armed robbers, Hammad said, “They think it’s an easy hit-and-go when it’s not. Easy money is not really that easy...It’s maybe $ 60.00, and no amount of money is worth anybody’s life.”

Convenience store robberies happen somewhere in America every day. Clerks, easy targets for dopers, thugs, and gangbangers, never know if they’re going to make it home after work.

Community Food Store in Delray Beach, Florida

Investigators quickly identified the dead man as Tyrone Roy Pinkney, 23. For twelve years, he’d been a one-man crime wave in south Florida. He had 17 arrests, two stints in the state penitentiary, and was suspected of at least three murders and one attempted murder.

In fact, just thirty minutes before being shot, police said Pinkney shot and killed two people at the Dixie Food and Beverage Store in West Palm Beach. Clerk Mohammad Rahman, 54, and customer Felipe Rixtun-Escobar, 50, were found dead by customers. Shell casings matched those at the scene of the Community Food Market, linking Pinkney to the killings.

A few months earlier, the same gunman was identified as the killer of another clerk, Miguel Gonzalez Huicochea, 38, at the Los Cunaos Grocery in Lake Worth. Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough evidence to charge Pinkney and get him off the streets.

In yet another case, the killer shot his brother-in-law in the back. The victim survived but was too terrified to testify against Pinkney.

Ten seconds.

Unknown potential victims no doubt will live out full lives because a brave convenience store clerk had the nerve to fight back.

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