Bountiful pawnshop clerk shoots and kills suspect in attempted robbery; police are searching for a second suspect

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Bountiful police investigate after they say a store clerk shot an armed robbery suspect at Bountiful Pawn and Sales on Thursday, May 3, 2018. Police are looking for a second suspect in the attempted armed robbery.

Bountiful • A store clerk at a Bountiful pawnshop shot and killed one of two men who reportedly attempted to rob the store Friday morning.

For at least eight hours after the shooting, Bountiful Pawn and Sales, at 135 S. 500 West, remained cordoned off by police tape.

Dispatchers received reports of shots fired at the shop about 10:10 a.m., Bountiful police Lt. Dave Edwards said.

The two men, one carrying a handgun, Edwards said, came in as the clerk, who had been alone, opened the store.

One of the men, a 40-year-old from Colorado, reportedly pointed a gun in the clerk’s face and ordered him to get on the ground. The second man walked along the glass cases with a hammer “as if he was going to break open the display cases,” Edwards said.

When the man looked away briefly to close the shop door, the clerk retreated to a storage room and pulled out his own weapon, Edwards said. The 40-year-old followed him into the storage room, where the clerk shot him.

Then there was a scuffle, Edwards said.

“Eventually,” he said, “the store clerk was able to free himself, and the suspect succumbed to his injuries and the store clerk called 911.”

Surveillance cameras recorded the other man fleeing south from the store. He left in a white SUV that was parked in a lot across the street from the pawnshop.

The clerk suffered minor injuries during the confrontation, Edwards said.

Police have not yet released the identification of the man who died, because they are trying to notify his family members.

The two who reportedly tried to rob the pawnshop stayed in a Salt Lake City-area hotel Thursday night, Edwards said. Based on surveillance video, police believe the two had visited the shop Thursday, with their faces concealed by shirts.

The man who fled is considered to be armed and dangerous. He was wearing a blue mask, a gray hoodie and jeans.

(Photo courtesy of Bountiful Police Department) Police are searching for a man they suspect of attempting an armed robbery at Bountiful Pawn, 135 S. 500 West, Bountiful, on the morning of Friday, May 4, 2018. The man is described as wearing a blue face mask, a gray hoodie and jeans. Surveillance footage shows the man heading north from the scene and later heading south. Anyone with information is asked to call police at 801-298-6000.

The 40-year-old had also been suspected of several armed robberies in Oklahoma and Texas, Edwards said. A warrant for his arrest was issued in Oklahoma on Friday morning.

Police did not know the identity of the second man Friday evening.

Willie Salas, who says he has lived in the area for decades, noticed the police presence when he was out to buy a drink from a nearby store.

“Things like this don’t happen here,” Salas said. “I consider Bountiful and Davis County a quiet place, but for something like this to happen in broad daylight, it’s crazy.”

Salas said he’s been in the pawnshop many times. The entrance is on the north side of the building, and inside, a counter and display run east and west, he said.

“It’s not a very big building, but the guy runs a business out of it,” Salas said. “You never ever want to hear about anybody being killed, but people have the right to protect themselves and their property.”

Officials locked the doors at four nearby schools — Bountiful Junior High, Meadowbrook Elementary, Washington Elementary and West Bountiful Elementary— for about 45 minutes during the investigation, Davis County School District spokesman Chris Williams said. The doors were unlocked about 11:15 a.m.

Police searched businesses in the area for the suspect.

Police shut down a lane of northbound 500 West near the pawnshop during the investigation, the Utah Department of Transportation tweeted. It was reopened just before 12:30 p.m.

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of the second suspect can call 911.