Local News

911 calls released as search continues for soldier's killer

Posted May 2, 2008 4:00 p.m. EDT
Updated May 2, 2008 6:07 p.m. EDT

— Police released two 911 calls Friday as they continued to seek information about an April 12 armed robbery outside a nightclub that left a 22-year-old Army sergeant dead.

A female caller says that a group of panicked people flagged her down outside Sharky's Cabaret, where Sgt. Sergio Sanchez had been shot.

"He's dead. He's laying on the ground," the woman told the 911 dispatcher. "He's shot. Someone help him."

Sanchez had been acting as the designated driver for a group of friends that night, police said.

"He was simply going to his vehicle to go back to Sharky's to pick up his friends," when he came upon four or five men robbing three other soldiers in a parking lot off Blue Street, Det. Terrance Phillips said.

A victim described the robbery to a 911 dispatcher.

"They have all my ID, my friends' ID and others' ID," the caller said. "They just shot somebody back in the street."

Investigators do not believe that Sanchez did anything to provoke the robbers. He was talking on his cell phone to his girlfriend and put up both his hands when he saw the robbery. A gunman approached Sanchez and shot him in the neck at close range, police said.

"They probably thought he was on the phone with the police, and he was calling in the robbery," Phillips said.

Police said they have only vague descriptions of the robbers, but the victims remembered that the shooter used a chrome shotgun – an unusual weapon.

"It would stand out because of the color it is," Phillips said.

Spc. Jeremy Dollar said his former roommate in Iraq would have acted prudently in such a situation.

"He would've given them anything they asked for," Dollar said. "They didn't have to do that to him."

Sanchez, a member of the 82nd Airborne, had returned home 15-month deployment to Baghdad only 29 days earlier. The Yuma, Ariz., native and Anniston, Ala., resident served as a computer-repair technician.

Sanchez died of his wounds a week after the robbery and shooting.

"He's my best buddy," Dollar said.

Anyone with information about the shooting was asked call police at 910-433-1856 or Crime Stoppers at 910-483-8477.