Central States Violent Crime

Female 7-Eleven Clerk Kills Robber in Shootout in St. Louis

The night after a 7-Eleven employee found herself in a fatal early morning shootout with an armed robber Monday, a worker in his first day on the job at the same store swore he would never work the wee hours there.

“I want to feel safe,” Davon Dodson said. “I let them (the 7-Eleven operators) know I would never work overnight. No way.”

Homicide detectives were at the scene at 509 Bates Street after the 3:50 a.m. shooting, in the city’s Carondelet neighborhood a few blocks west of Interstate 55.

The female worker involved in the shootout had stepped out for a smoke break when an armed man tried to rob her. She pulled out a gun and exchanged fire with the would-be robber, killing him.

The robber, 30, was shot in the chest, arm and thigh, police said. He died from his injuries at St. Louis University Hospital.

The woman, 35, whom police have not identified, was shot twice in the leg. Police said she was conscious and breathing when she was taken to a hospital, where she was stable. Her medical condition was unavailable.

The store was open for business about two hours after the shooting.

Employees said Monday evening that the woman involved in the shooting had worked at the store for years.

A man who had been working with her at the time of the shootout quit later that morning, employees said.

Brian Richardson, another worker, spent the morning answering messages and calls from friends who heard about the shooting and wanted to know what happened and to check that he was OK.

“My phone was blowing up,” Richardson, 44, said.

The safety risks of working at night are not worth the pay, said Richardson, who has worked day shifts at the store since November.

“We need a security guard — you can quote me on that,” he said.

The owner of the store had been by to check on the workers, Richardson said.

He said the store had been robbed before, but this was the first time he knew of anyone getting hurt there.

Richardson said he didn’t know the woman who shot the robber owned a gun.

“But I think anybody would defend themselves if they were in her position,” he said.

Dodson, the worker on his first day, said he has worked overnight shifts in past jobs but only if his employers kept him “locked in” a safe building without public access, he said.

He said he’d been at the Bates Street 7-Eleven often in the past and found it to be busy most days. Many of the customers lived nearby and were friends with the employees, he said.

“There aren’t too many other stores around here,” he said, “so we get a lot of people stopping in.”

He said the area was generally safe.

“We have some trouble, but it’s generally pretty quiet,” he said. “If you’re looking for trouble, though, you may find it.”

Dodson said he would talk to the worker involved in the shooting when he would stop by the store to grab pizza after getting off work at past jobs at night, he said. She was easy to talk to, he said.

“I was glad she protected herself,” he said. “We’re calling her a she-ro.”

Shane Mack lives around the corner from the store. He said Monday evening that just after the shooting he heard a woman screaming, and he assumed it was the worker. He walked over to the store and found it taped off by police.

Mack didn’t know the employee very well but knew that she was a mother who worked hard and was nice to customers. He said the would-be robber “deserved to get what he got” for pointing a gun at her.

“It’s unfair,” he said. “She ain’t done anything wrong. She was just taking a break and he attacked.”

Chad Laforce, 35, of the Bevo Mill neighborhood said he comes to the store “every now and then” to buy a drink while he’s working. Laforce has worked in the area surrounding the store for several years as a delivery driver.

Laforce was the target of two attempted robberies last year, he said. In one attempt, he was making a delivery when a car pulled up in front of the house and someone pulled a gun on him, but the gunman left when the person at the home called police. Two cars he was driving to make deliveries were stolen.

“It’s sad, man,” he said of the robbery attempt at the 7-Eleven. “This area has been getting rougher lately. I hear too many sirens and gunshots at night.”

Leave a Comment