Piercing screams for help sent employees and customers scrambling outside the Sherwin-Williams paint store in Minneapolis’ Lyn-Lake neighborhood on Tuesday afternoon.
“They put a gun to my head,” yelled the woman, who said two men had just tried to rob her and take her car.
Store manager Jacob Babcock and others went after the men, who had jumped back in their car and fled. He pounded on the back window as someone inside rolled down a window and shot three times. A bullet ricocheted through his back, leaving him bleeding on the street.
Babcock, a father of two, was recovering from surgery Wednesday.
The shooting comes amid a violent trend in the city since the police killing of George Floyd on Memorial Day, with homicides doubling the pace of a year ago.
Police sent out an alert Tuesday about 100 robberies and 20 car robberies in south Minneapolis in July. Last month, 11 people were shot in Uptown, a few blocks from the attempted robbery.
Police confirmed that the attempted robbery and shooting outside the store Tuesday were done by the same suspects involved in a police chase and standoff on Minneapolis’ North Side this week and other robberies in the city.
The suspects in Tuesday’s shooting may also be connected to the fatal shooting July 20 of a taxi driver who had confronted two men breaking into his cab, according to police.
The victim was shot about 4:30 p.m. on the 1000 block of E. 22nd Street.
The victim of the attempted robbery told her story to the Star Tribune, but didn’t want her name published out of concern for her safety.
She said she pulled into a parking lot in a nearby alley near W. Lake Street and Harriet Avenue around noon to return a can of paint.
She left her purse in the car and starting walking to the store, she said, when two men jumped out at her and held two guns to her head.
They demanded money, but she told them she didn’t have a purse or cash on her. The men tried to grab her car keys but she said she let out a “bloodcurdling scream,” which sent the men back into their car. She suffered large bruises on her arms.
The woman and her family have expressed their gratitude to Babcock and the others who tried to help.
“Jacob ran out of his store to assist my family member,” said a man who donated $250 to Babcock’s GoFundMe page. “I am humbled and awed by his selfless action.”
Kristina Martin, Jacob’s sister, told Fox 9 that he is in intensive care with injuries to his shoulder blade, ribs and lung.
“He has a chest tube in and then they’re cleaning his gunshot wound because of the entry in back, no exit and kind of watching bullet fragments right now,” she told the station.
After the car sped off, the victim of the attempted robbery said things became hazy. She said she screamed for someone to call 911.
“And at that point I was hiding under a car,” she said. “I was screaming, ‘Is he dead? Is he dead?’ ”
She had just returned to town after spending 11 days in Voyageurs National Park. She said she wants to sell her Kingfield house and say “adios” to Minneapolis. When the incident unfolded, she thought it had to be a joke.
“I was in the woods with no internet, no Wi-Fi, no news, and it felt wonderful,” she said. “And 24 hours later, I had two guns pointed on my head. Resting on my temple.”
Her main goal now, however, is to give thanks: “I want the good Samaritans of the Sherwin store to be recognized. The employees.”
Hundreds of people posted, including Benjamin Verhasselt, who wrote:
“Jacob has helped me and co-workers with so much in my short time with Sherwin. Jacob is the picture of integrity, and so many people are grateful for him!”