Crimetracker: Police believe body is Dollar General robber

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- One man dead and another under scrutiny after a robbery at an East Knoxville discount store. It happened at the Dollar General on Asheville Highway. A robber pointed a gun demanding cash and minutes later, that man lay dead in an alley near the store. Local 8 news anchor Lauren Davis went back to the scene where she tracked down a woman who knew him.

Neighbors aren't surprised a shooting happened in their neighborhood. They are surprised the store employee shot and killed the robber. Dollar General employees posted closing signs on the window. They're closing up shop for a while. All after a co-worker followed a man who they say robbed the store. They both had guns and fired several shots. Minutes later police found the suspect's body right behind Gail Caswell's house. Gail Caswell says, "They found the gun right beside our fence. He was laying there dead. It's just too close to home."

Barbara Carter didn't want to show her face, but says, "I heard a shot. I laid there and I heard pop, pop, pop."

She wonders how and why the store clerk opened fire. Carter says, "They struggled outside the store. I don't know. That doesn't make sense. Something ain't right."

She learned later the man dead in her backyard was someone she's known for years. Carter says, "I don't think anybody should have to die like that. Even though he's wrong, they shouldn't have to die like that. You do wrong you get done wrong. I know he knew better."

Police are turning over the evidence to the district attorneys office to see if any charges will be filed. Police tell us they're waiting to release the name of the man until they've told his relatives. We contacted Dollar General and they released this statement:

"At Dollar General, the safety of our customers and employees is a top priority. We are grateful that our customers and employees were not harmed during this armed robbery, which occurred at our store at 4112 Asheville Highway in Knoxville, TN. We are cooperating with the authorities investigating this incident. This is an ongoing investigation and therefore all questions about this case should be directed to the Knoxville Police Department. We instruct our employees not to put themselves in harm’s way to try to confront a robber or to protect company assets. The priority always must be safety. In addition, Dollar General employs a number of safety and security procedures in our stores. To protect the integrity of these measures, we do not comment on them specifically."

Tennessee has a stand your ground law which says if you're threatened you can protect yourself. Now investigators must decide if the shooting was justified.


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