A Hollywood gas station clerk turned the tables on a pair of would-be robbers, shooting and killing one of them late Monday, police said.
The shooting happened just before midnight at the Exxon Gas Station on Southwest 51st Street near S. State Road 7 when the two men walked into the station's store in an attempt to rob it, Hollywood Police Sgt. Pablo Vanegas said.
According to Vanegas, the clerk had been tipped off by a homeless man, Hasib Kuric, who saw the suspects outside as they prepared to rob the store.
Kuric said he tried to quickly warn the clerk, who police identified as Leonard Carr, 45.
"I tell Leo 'just lock this door and call police, behind building is two guys with masks,'" Kuric said.
The suspects barged in before the clerk could call 911. Multiple shots rang out as the clerk and suspects exchanged gunfire, with one of the suspects fatally wounded near the doorway, Vanegas said.
"They were going in with the intent, that, according to the clerk, they came in firing, so they didn't know he was armed," Vanegas said. "They were coming in to do what they were gonna do."
Kuric said one of the suspects threatened him and fired in his direction.
"He start shooting on me three time, then he told me, 'you'll never do this again,'" Kuric said.
The second suspect, identified as 19-year-old Joshua Stuart, fled the scene but was caught by police a short time later just a few blocks away, police said. He was charged with one count of second-dgree murder, two counts of second-degree attempted murder, and one count of armed burglary, police said.
The suspect who died hasn't been identified.
"Unfortunately, someone was killed. It was a decision this person made, but no innocent people were hurt, so that's what's more important," Vanegas said.
He said the clerk, who wasn't injured, may have saved his own life with his actions.
"In all situations you can't dictate what happens, it happens so quickly," Vanegas said. "We obviously would tell people to please call us first. In an exchange of gunfire, innocent people could get hurt but things happen quick."
Carr has worked at the gas station for 10 years, a coworker said.
Kuric said there's no doubt the clerk saved his life.
"He save my life too, because the guy [was] shooting first on me," he said. "I don't feel like [a] hero, I just feel happy because I [am] still alive."
Police are still investigating the incident.