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Employee Shot at Apple Store; Suspect Sought

By Derek Kravitz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, July 4, 2009

An employee of an Apple store in Arlington County was shot and wounded yesterday morning during an attempted armed robbery in a back storeroom as more than three dozen shoppers and other employees milled about the showroom.

The shooting occurred about 10:15 a.m., shortly after the store opened.

Arlington police said the suspect rang a doorbell at a back service entrance of the store at 2700 Clarendon Blvd. in the busy Market Common outdoor shopping area. A 26-year-old female employee opened the door and was shot, said Detective Crystal Nosal, a police spokeswoman.

Nosal said it was unclear whether the employee and the shooter exchanged words or whether he was after merchandise or money. Police said the unidentified victim suffered a wound to her right shoulder and was in serious but stable condition at an area hospital. Her injuries are not considered life-threatening, Nosal said.

Mike Evans, 30, a software developer from the Mount Pleasant area of the District who was shopping for a laptop at the store, said at least a dozen employees and about 30 customers were inside when he heard what he thought was "boxes falling."

"It never crossed my mind that there would be a shooting there, in Clarendon," Evans said. "An employee went to the backroom, and then we heard a woman's scream. I didn't wait to find out what happened."

Evans said customers "weren't panicky" but quickly made their way to the front door.

The glass-paneled shop was cordoned off with crime-scene tape by midafternoon. A handful of Apple employees paced back and forth and sat on benches, checking their iPhones for updates about their colleague's condition.

"We are shocked by this senseless act of violence, and our thoughts are with this co-worker and her family," said Steve Dowling, a spokesman for Apple's corporate headquarters in Cupertino, Calif. "We're working with police to catch the person who committed this act."

A U.S. Park Police helicopter and Arlington police K-9 units searched for the suspect. He was described as a black male, between 35 and 45, with a medium build and facial hair. He was last seen fleeing the area on foot, wearing a light-colored, short-sleeve shirt, light-colored pants and a dark baseball cap. He was carrying a handgun.

Police said they would release security camera footage of the shooting to aid in the search.

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