Guard shot during armored car robbery

February 17, 2010 8:32:44 PM PST
A robbery and shooting occurred in broad daylight this morning outside a southeast Houston grocery store. At least two gunmen ambushed an armored car and shot a security guard before making their escape. The shots rang out just after 11:30am at a busy Kroger store on Telephone at Bellfort.

"The security guy, he yelled out we have a code blue! Code blue, the guy's being robbed," recalled eyewitness Keith Mallard. "The next thing I heard was boom, boom, boom."

The FBI confirms an armored truck was robbed and the guard was shot at least three times. He went to the hospital in critical condition. The robbers got away with at least one sack of money and the guard's gun.

Mallard stopped at the Kroger to get money from the ATM. He never expected what happened next.

"Some of the people ran to the back to hide," he said. "A couple more people, we ran to the front and when we got out the door, we saw the guy had been shot."

The driver of the armored car drove away. Police say that's company policy in the case of an armed robbery.

Triple D Security Company issued a statement reading in part, "The safety of our employees is of critical importance to our company. We review security procedures and protocols on a regular basis to ensure up-to-date practices are in place and alter routines to deter thieves."

Meantime, in the alley behind the Discount Tire next door, was a car that investigators say may be connected to the robbery and shooting, perhaps the getaway car. But it was set on fire.

"Probably after, because the call came in about the car on fire immediately after this happened," said Sgt. W. Meeler with the Houston Police Department.

Kroger issued a statement, reading in part, "We take the safety of our customers and associates very seriously."

But Mallard says the shooting has left him shaken.

He said, "I think this will be my last time shopping here."

If you have information on the robbery, you're asked to call Crime Stoppers or the Houston Police Department. Triple D Security Company says a reward will be issued for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of the suspect(s).

This is the second armored car robbery this month. On February 6, two men robbed an armored car at a check cashing store, also in southeast Houston, off the Gulf Freeway at Monroe. Two men got into a shootout with the driver. The driver and a pedestrian were shot but survived. The two suspects got away with the cash. Their getaway vehicle was found abandoned.