SPRINGFIELD TWP, OH (FOX19) - Springfield Township Police have identified a robbery suspect who they say was shot and killed by two gas station clerks overnight.
Police say Lashawn Daniels, 19, of Mason, entered the Sunoco station at 10960 Hamilton Avenue at 12:30 a.m. on Monday, carrying a handgun. He forced one employee behind the counter and demanded cash from the register.
As the employee was complying with the suspect, another employee came from an office area, armed with a gun.
Several shots were then fired, according to authorities.
Upon arriving to the Sunoco, police found Daniels suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Springfield's Police Chief says they are currently unaware of the teen having a prior record. They say the teen's vehicle was recovered at the scene.
According to the 911 call, the suspect fired shots first. Police have not confirmed that information, and would only say multiple firearms were discharged.
While the employees were unharmed in this instance, industry experts warn resistance generally increases the likelihood violence will escalate.
"Virtually all security experts advise that you just treat them the way you would your best customer: you give them what they want and you get them out of your store," Jeff Lenard said. Once they've left, then contact authorities to help catch the suspect and prevent further incidents.
Lenard works for the National Association of Convenience Stores. He says more mom-and-pops are popping up as the major oil companies get out of the retail business.
"I think there probably is a different mentality when you're talking about a mom-and-pop. You're talking about somebody that's not just stealing from a business, but stealing from something that feels very personal." Lenard said. "And unfortunately that may run into some problems where you might do something or follow procedures where security experts are fairly hesitant to validate."
Lenard suggested three steps to increase security without involving weapons.
- Minimize the potential reward by keeping limited cash on-hand.
- Improve lighting and visibility in part by taking down signage that clutter windows.
- Train employees on desired responses in potentially dangerous scenarios.
While Lenard does not know of any studies on whether single owner shops are in fact more likely to have weapons behind the counter, he argues stores are safer today than they were even a decade ago.
"The good news is while we have more mom-and-pops out there than we ever have before, we've also seen a decrease in crime at stores," he said.
According to the FBI's Uniform Crime Report robberies at convenience stores were down five percent in 2011.
The clerks inside the Sunoco store were not hurt. Police say the witnesses' accounts match up with the surveillance video.
Springfield Township police say they recovered multiple firearms from the store including hand guns and a shotgun. Chief Dave Heimpold says under Ohio law, as a business, they can have firearms on the premise.
The case will be sent to the Hamilton County Prosecutor's Office to determine if charges will be filed.