By Al Novack, Steve Beck and Robin Rieger
CAMDEN, N.J. (CBS) – A clerk was killed and three customers were shot during a robbery inside a Camden County store Monday night.
The shooting happened at about 8:45 p.m. inside the Bernard Grocery store at the intersection of 27th and Pierce Streets in Camden.
According to investigators, a store clerk, Deogones Miguel Almonte, 46, was fatally shot and three customers were struck by gunfire.
The three other men, a 46-year-old, a 42-year-old and another man whose age has not been determined, all customers, were taken to Cooper University Hospital where they are listed in critical but stable condition.
According to Camden County Prosecutor Warren W. Faulk and Camden Police Chief Scott Thomson, two armed, masked men entered the store and immediately began shooting at the people within.
“Two armed men came in with masks and one with a military style gun, the other a shotgun, demanded money and almost immediately began firing their weapons”, says Faulk.
“They come in and surprise them”, said Jorge Martinez, Almonte’s brother-in-law who relayed what Almonte said to the gunmen. “He asked for mercy, he said ‘don’t kill me, don’t kill me.'”
Almonte is Camden’s 48th homicide victim this year.
“We’re going to do everything in our powers to really advance public safety in the city of Camden, as you know, of the 168 laid off officers, I have brought back 99,” said Mayor Dana Redd.
After the shooting, the suspects took can undisclosed amount of cash and fled the business.
As police investigate, City Council President Frank Moran called on Mayor Dana Redd to declare a state of emergency and bring in the troops, saying there aren’t enough officers to do the job.
“We want to be the first city for the governor of the state of New Jersey sends the national guard to patrol our streets”, said Moran.
Almonte bought the store eight-years-ago, according to a family member. He was trying to sell it and go back to the Dominican Republic where he had a farm.
Police say the suspects remain at large. The deadly incident remains under police investigation.
Anyone with information is urged to contact Camden County Prosecutor’s Office Investigator John Hunsinger at (856) 225-8400 or Camden Police Detective Bill Frampton at (856) 757-7420.