A clerk at a Verizon store in Inver Grove Heights had a robber’s gun at his head when he drew his own firearm from his waistband and shot the perpetrator, according to robbery charges filed Monday.
Also Monday, police say the clerk did everything right from the moment he defended himself to when he put down his gun and showed police his state-issued permit to carry a firearm.
Jamaal M. Mays, 32, of Crystal, was charged in Dakota County District Court with first-degree aggravated robbery and being a felon in possession of a firearm in connection with the holdup on Aug. 17 of the Verizon Wireless store in a strip mall off Hwy. 52 in the 9000 block of Cahill Avenue.
An accomplice in the crime remains at large, and police say they are still trying to determine that person’s identity. Police have not released a detailed description of the man they hope to capture.
The moment of truth inside the store for the employee, according to charges against Mays, came when the “defendant pointed a gun at [the victim’s] head and told [the clerk], ‘Make it easy on me.’ ”
With the gun still trained on his head and believing he was about to be shot, the clerk “pulled his gun from his waistband and fired what he believed to be three shots.” Mays was hit twice by gunfire and survived.
The shots sent the accomplice fleeing in a minivan, which was recovered Monday by police in St. Paul and will be searched for evidence later this week.
Police Lt. Joshua Otis said authorities are not disclosing the identity of the clerk for his safety because the other suspect remains a fugitive. The clerk is employed by Verizon partner Cellular Connection.
Otis said that the armed clerk “acted as we would expect any crime victim to act,” including when he put his gun and the suspect’s weapon on a window ledge.
“He followed his training that he received from his classes,” Otis said. Classes are required when applying for a permit to carry in Minnesota.
Mays did not have a permit to carry, and his handgun had the serial number scratched off in an attempt to cover up its origins.