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Sales Clerk Shot in Convenience Store Robbery

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ROCKY MOUNT — Investigators are searching every corner of a Rocky Mount neighborhood, trying to find the suspect who opened fire Thursday morning at Mike's Food Mart on Raleigh Road.

Police say the suspect walked in around 9 a.m. and shot store owner "Jay" Jaiyash Albajal before demanding money.

Customer James Brown had left the store just before the shooting happened.

"I went home and wasn't even at home for about 35 minutes when I came around the corner, and I saw tape and all that," says Brown.

Police say Albajal was shot once in the arm, but the wound is not life-threatening.

Albajal's friends and customers are shocked.

"He treats me real nice," says Dorothy Andrews. "He let people have credit and he tried to treat people real fair. I don't know why anyone would want to hurt him."

This is the third time in a month that a robber has shot a sales clerk before demanding money.

Police have arrested a suspect they say is involved in two of those robberies, but at least one suspect is still at large. Detectives have not connected Albajal's shooting to the others.

Eight hours earlier, police say there was another robbery in Rocky Mount at Edward's Bar-B-Q, but that no shots were fired.

"We do not know if there is an actual connection with the robbery that occurred last night, but it's in close proximity of here," says Sgt. John Manley of the Rocky Mount Police Department. "We're keeping all options open and are continuing to try to pursue all the leads we have."

Police say they do have a suspect in the shooting and hope to make an arrest soon.

Connie Hawkins used to work at Mike's Food Mart as a clerk and would like to do it again, but with the recent attacks, she is rethinking her choice.

"It's really dangerous now," says Hawkins. "It's gotten so dangerous that it's scared me to death."


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