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APD: Slaying Leads ‘Strong’

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Albuquerque police are chasing “very strong leads” as they investigate who shot and killed a 7-Eleven clerk during a robbery early Tuesday.

The clerk, whose identity has not been released, was killed as the store at Central and University was robbed around 1 a.m., according to police.

The store had two employees working when the robbery happened, which complies with a state regulation passed in 2005, said Blake Lewis, spokesman for Southwest Convenience Stores, the company that owns 7-Eleven stores in the Southwest.

The other employee, whose identity was not released, was not injured.

“Clearly, we meet or exceed all the regulations that are placed on us,” Lewis said.

Convenience stores are also required to have no more than $50 in the register, and they must have interior surveillance and employee safety training. The measures were adopted after APD determined that 22 convenience stores accounted for almost 5,000 police calls in 2005.

Unlike several other convenience stores along Central near UNM, the 7-Eleven in which the clerk was killed does not handle late-night business through an exterior window, where clerks distribute merchandise through a slot in a rotating window mechanism while customers wait outside.

Lewis said that security measure is not installed at all 7-Elevens in Albuquerque, but he would not go into detail about why certain stores have such measures.

“We do not discuss our security questions, for obvious reasons,” he said.

Just up Central from the 7-Eleven is a Valero gas station that uses a security window late at night. A Valero Energy Corp. spokesman said “security evaluations” determine which stores take which safety steps.

Slayings of employees during robberies are rare. In June 2009, a cook at a Denny’s on the West Side was killed by a bullet that ricocheted when the robber fell and his gun went off.

This is the first case in several years of a killing of any kind at a convenience store in Albuquerque.

In October 2007, a 17-year-old high school student was shot at a Circle K as he sat in the passenger seat of a vehicle. In February of the same year, a 19-year-old suspected gang member, Sean Cordova, was fatally stabbed at a North Valley Circle K.
— This article appeared on page A1 of the Albuquerque Journal

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