Teen jailed, others still at large in dollar store, deadly gas station robberies
Wichita police arrested a 17-year-old boy and continued to look for other suspects allegedly involved in two armed robberies on Friday — including one where a gas station customer shot and killed a 16-year-old. The department has not identified the boy who died.
On Sunday, authorities booked the 17-year-old into the Juvenile Detention Center on suspicion of committing three counts of aggravated robbery, according to an emailed news release. Police say he was among a group thought to have stolen money and cigarettes at gunpoint at the Family Dollar Store at 936 S. Woodlawn and the B and H Fast Trip convenience store at 2796 S. Seneca early Friday afternoon.
During the first robbery, at the Family Dollar, three people reportedly went into the store with handguns at about 12:10 p.m., pointed them at a 59-year-old employee and demanded she turn over items. They fled afterward. The employee wasn’t hurt.
The gas station robbery had similar circumstances. Four people described as young males went inside at about 2:45 p.m., pointed handguns at an employee and customers, and demanded money. During the chaos, a 42-year-old man in line at the checkout counter drew his own gun after he was robbed of his wallet and fired several shots at the foursome.
One bullet hit the 16-year-old in the head. He later died at a Wichita hospital. The rest of the group got away. Police said Monday that they know who the others are but haven’t found them yet.
The police report connected to the gas station robbery and teen’s death lists the shooting as a justifiable homicide. Kansas is among states that say citizens who are in a place lawfully have no legal duty to retreat from an attacker. Killings are justifiable when a person reasonably believes deadly force is necessary to prevent death or extreme harm to self or others.
Police are asking anyone who has information about either crime to call Wichita police detectives at 316-268-4407 or leave an anonymous tip with Crime Stoppers at 316-267-2111. Crime Stoppers tips that lead to an arrest may be eligible for a cash reward.