Florence clerk facing paralysis after brutal attack

FLORENCE, KY (FOX19) - The manhunt is on for the suspect in a brutal attack against a gas station clerk early Friday morning in Florence. Police say the suspect savagely stabbed the clerk leaving him paralyzed.

The robbery happened at the Shell on Turfway Road just after midnight.

Florence Police say the suspect tried to use the ATM inside the Shell station but his card was denied. After leaving the store and coming back inside, he approached the clerk, identified as Kanubai Patel, and attempted to stab and slash him with what appeared to be a small knife.

During the struggle, police say Patel, 67, was able to absorb the majority of the blows with his jacket. The unknown suspect put  him in a choke hold, however, which caused a serious injury to Patel's neck.

The suspect then reportedly stole Patel's wallet and left the store but returned a short time later and with Patel immobilized, repeatedly demanded the keys to Patel's vehicle, a 2009 Toyota Camry with KY registration 622 JDG.

He then fled the scene in Patel's Camry.

"This is not a case where he is trying to be the hero or John Wayne to prevent the robbery. He's just protecting himself," said Florence Police Captain Linny Cloyd of the clerk.

Police say they've learned the injury is high enough on Patel's cervical spine to take away some of his simplest functions.  He underwent emergency surgery at UC Medical Center following the incident.

"The doctor last night he told me that it's not possible that he's going to stand up himself," Patel's brother Minesh Patel told FOX19.

The suspect is described as 20 to 25-year-old stocky man who was wearing black pants and a black jacket with white sleeves that had a large "J" on the front. He was also wearing a black hat with a yellow flat brim and a red bandana.

If you think you know something, call Florence police at (859) 647-5420.

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