BALTIMORE — Police say the armed man entered the Safeway store in Charles Village and was suspected of shoplifting, but this store employee says he had set his sights much higher.
“Someone was trying to rob the building, I guess the money center, and he tried to pull out a fake gun,” said Jasmine Hicks.
From his vantage point in the steaks and seafood section, Customer Frankie Phillips spotted a security guard confronting the man.
“I saw the suspect standing there arguing with the security guard,” said Phillips, “His back was facing me. I was about 20 feet away. I could see he was waving something, but I couldn’t see at first. Then I realized it looked to be a handgun.”
Witnesses say the security guard ordered the man to drop the gun repeatedly to no avail before shooting him in the ankle.
“I heard something go ‘Mop! Mop! Mop!’ and pulled out. I heard shots, and said, ‘Oh God. It’s time for me to go,’” said Nickisha Edwards, who was shopping three aisles away.
“A couple of customers ran to the back, and they were trying to find a way out of the store, and we told them they couldn’t,” said Hicks, “They were trying to run into the oven and everything.”
The security guard handcuffed the wounded suspect and held him until police arrived.
Only then was it discovered the man had been trying to commit a real crime with a fake gun.
“His intent was obvious. He came in there with an empty bag on his shoulder like mine is, but more of the recycling bags (like) they have for the grocery store. The ones you can re-use. Something like that and he had it in there,” said Phillips, “Come to find out, it was a pellet gun the officer said.”
Police haven't released the suspect's name or what charges he'll be facing. His injury status is also unclear.