7-Eleven worker fatally shot during robbery

May 12, 2011

A cashier at a 7-Eleven convenience store in the Fort Washington area was gunned down early Thursday morning during an apparent robbery, and detectives have not identified any suspects, authorities said.

Prince George’s County police were dispatched to the store in the 9200 block of Oxon Hill Road just before 3:30 a.m. because of a report of “unknown trouble,” said Cpl. Evan Baxter, a police spokesman. They found an employee had been fatally wounded, apparently during a robbery, Baxter said.

Another employee who was in the store at the time was unharmed, Baxter said.

The slaying was Prince George’s County’s 42nd homicide this year, including fatal police shootings and a killing authorities have deemed justified.

It was also the second homicide in as many days. About 7 p.m. Wednesday, 28-year-old James Speaks Jr., of Oxon Hill, was fatally shot in a parking lot in the 4400 block of Wheeler Road, near the D.C. line, Baxter said. Police do not believe the two killings are related, although they have no suspects in either case, authorities said.

Police did not publicly identify the slain 7-Eleven employee. Margaret Chabris, a 7-Eleven spokeswoman, and friends of the victim who came to the store after of the shooting said he was a recent immigrant from Ethi­o­pia. He had worked as a cashier and sales associate for about 21 / 2 weeks, Chabris and the friends said.

“He’s so kind,” said Maza Admssu, 29, a friend who also is from Ethio­pia.

Homicide detectives were combing the scene and poring over surveillance video Thursday afternoon. Baxter said the shooting stemmed from a robbery but did not know any other details.

According to two law enforcement sources familiar with the case who spoke on the condition they not be identified, there were two masked robbers, both of whom shot the man at point-blank range.

Chabris said she was told neither employee resisted during the robbery. “From what I understand, there was not resistance, and it was sort of one of the suspects’ afterthought to shoot the victim,” she said.

Daniel Tilahul, 48, said his brother was working inside the store when the shooting occurred. He said his brother, who was too distraught to speak to a reporter, said he was in the freezer when he saw movement inside the store. Tilahul said his brother came out, and one of the robbers put a gun to his head and ordered him to the ground. “Then he heard something, some shotgun, and he stayed down,” Tilahul said. “If he didn’t do what he was told to do, he’d be dead, too.”

At this time last year, Prince George’s had 32 homicides, including fatal police shootings and killings deemed justified by authorities. This year’s total was driven up by a violent January, when 14 people were killed in the first 19 days of the year.

Staff researcher Jennifer Jenkins contributed to this report.

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