Thursday, December 30, 2010
Sri Lankan college student killed in US gas station robbery
An armed robber ambushed a Kansas City gas station clerk early today and killed him to steal merchandise from the store, police said. The victim, a 24-year-old college student from Sri Lanka, died at a hospital.
Minutes after the shooting, a customer walked up to the Inner City Oil building at 5901 Swope Parkway to pay for gas and saw the dying clerk lying on the floor. The customer stepped over the wounded clerk, stole cash from the register and left without offering any help.
About 20 minutes later, at 5 a.m., another customer arrived, found the victim and called police. The victim, a 24-year-old college student from Sri Lanka, died at a hospital. Police did not release the victim’s name, pending notification of relatives.
Police would like to identify and find both the gunman and the opportunistic customer. Investigators released images from the store’s surveillance system today of a man wearing a black ski mask, black hood, red gloves and a gray coat with a hole in the back on the right side. The other man wore a customized t-shirt under blue jacket with gray lining.
Police said they think the clerk was ambushed when he went outside to take out some trash — police found some flattened cardboard boxes a short distance from the front door. They think the clerk may have seen the killer on his way to the trash bin and ran back toward the building when he was shot. He collapsed just inside the front door.
Jeremy Ploeger, a spokesman for the station owner, said the business had 11 video cameras recording activity inside and outside the store, but police said the outside cameras recently had been stolen. Ploeger said the inside video showed police exactly what happened.
The building where the clerk works is not accessible to the public and remains locked at all times, Ploeger said. The clerk works in a room behind a bullet-resistant window and serves customers through a secured metal tray built into the wall, similar to the systems used at bank drive-through lanes.
The clerk left his secured booth and unlocked two doors to take out the trash about 4:40 a.m.
The clerk had worked at the store about three months and was a senior at the University of Missouri-Kansas City studying technology, Ploeger said. The victim’s parents live in Sri Lanka.
“A young man came to work today for a better future and he didn’t make it home,” Ploeger said. “It’s sad, really sad…He always had a big smile and was eager to work. He was excited that he was almost done with school He was living the American dream.” Kansas City Star reports.