Store clerk shot, seriously wounded during robbery in Truxton Circle

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported that the store’s owner had been shot.

November 27, 2013

A masked gunman marched into a corner store in the Truxton Circle neighborhood on Wednesday morning, shot a clerk through the neck and escaped with money, a credit card and the victim’s cellphone, District police said.

The midmorning robbery at North Capitol and O streets, two blocks north of New York Avenue NW, unnerved regular shoppers at the Dollar Plus Food Store who stopped by with carts but were turned away by police and crime-scene tape. The clerk was critically injured in the 10 a.m. robbery, but police said he is expected to survive and was being treated at an area hospital.

“I’m stunned,” said Minnie Myles, 83, who lives a few blocks away in Tyler House, an apartment building south of New York Avenue. “This store means a lot to this neighborhood. We don’t have anything else. They are so nice in there. They probably didn’t keep a lot of money on hand.”

D.C. police said the wounded clerk, whom they did not identify, managed to get through the front door and to the steps, where he collapsed. Two hours later, blood was still smeared on the steps, protected from the rain by the store’s oversized marquee. Overturned shopping baskets could be seen in the doorway.

Police said they had only a scant description of the gunman, who they said had a slim build, was about 5-11, and was wearing blue jeans and brown, yellow or black tennis shoes.

The triangular-shaped neighborhood, between Bloomingdale to the north and emerging NoMa to the south, remains a trouble spot for drugs and violence, according to police and residents. Seven people were wounded 13 months ago at New York Avenue and North Capitol Street in consecutive weekend shootings, and 13 people were shot in a drive-by shooting in March in front of Tyler House.

D.C. police said the Dollar Plus Food Store was previously robbed July 11, when two men walked in about 4:30 p.m. and punched the owner in the head and nose.

Joyce Robinson-Paul, the advisory neighborhood commissioner for Truxton Circle, said the owner has been harassed since he put up signs at the beginning of this summer saying, “No loitering by order of police.”

“I asked officers to pay special attention to him and his store,” Robinson-Paul said. “That’s a very tough corner. We have drug pushers who stand there. The police are running them, but they come back when the police are gone.”

Robinson-Paul said she thinks the young men on the corner are “trying to intimidate” the owner. “Some people think they can run this neighborhood by fear,” she said.

Police would not say whether they think the owner was being intimidated or simply the unlucky victim of two robberies in the past four months. The owner could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

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