Arrest Made in Brutal Hammer Attack

Man facing attempted murder, armed robbery charges in attack on store clerk

A man arrested in a brutal hammer attack on a Miami store clerk shows "no remorse," the Miami Police chief said.

Chief Manuel Orosa told NBC Miami that Rodobaldo Sanchez, 50, is "very cold, very callous and an 'I don't care individual.'"

Sanchez was booked into a Miami-Dade jail just before 5 a.m. Thursday on charges of first-degree attempted murder, burglary with assault or battery, armed robbery and false imprisonment with a deadly weapon. He was being held without bond.

Sanchez showed "no remorse even when he was faced with the evidence," Orosa said.

Police say Sanchez entered Alex's Mini Market at 501 Northwest 12th Avenue in Little Havana on Sunday afternoon and brought two gallons of milk to the counter.

When the clerk, Yue Kui Cen, began to ring the items up, Sanchez pulled a bottle from his pocket and started spraying Cen with an unknown chemical, police said.

As Cen rubbed his eyes, the suspect walked around the counter and hit him in the back of the head with a hammer several times, authorities said. He grabbed two cartons of cigarettes and fled the scene on his bike.

The entire attack was caught on the store's surveillance system.

Cen was rushed to the hospital and remains in extremely critical condition, according to police.

Orosa said Cen was doing better, but he didn't know the extent of the injuries.

The family "can rest easy now that this beast has been caught," Orosa said.

According to a Miami Police arrest report, Sanchez was spotted by officers on Tuesday in the area of Southwest 33rd Avenue and 8th Street wearing clothing that matched the suspect in the store's surveillance video.

Sanchez had "several packages of cigarettes and a hand lotion container consistent with the items taken and used in the incident," the report said. His fingerprints also matched prints from a carton of cigarettes left at the store, the report said.

"It was just old-fashioned police work, one of our officers spotted the guy who matched the description, called for backup and made the arrest," Freddie Cruz, the Miami Police spokesman, said.

According to the report, Sanchez told detectives he'd never been in Alex's Mini Market, but said the hand lotion container was filled with mace he "used to blind people."

It was unknown whether he has an attorney.

Records showed Sanchez had been arrested in Miami-Dade last month on petty larceny charges and an extensive criminal record in Monroe County dating back to 2004.

Orosa also said he had been arrested in Italy, Costa Rica and Key West.

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