A broad-daylight robbery at a south Birmingham business left two women injured by gunfire and sparked a manhunt for the shooter.
A suspect in the case was captured about two hours later after a foot chase that took the alleged gunman and a team of police officers across busy Interstate 65 during evening rush-hour traffic.
Birmingham police and firefighters responded at 3 p.m. to the Metro PCS on Green Springs Avenue, just off Interstate 65 and Green Springs Highway. Once on the scene, they found two women had been shot.
One of the women is believed to have been shot three times — in the ankle, thigh and left part of her torso — and the other was shot twice, in the arm or wrist area. One woman is said to have potentially fatal injuries.
A witness said a man walked across the parking lot of a nearby auto business then entered Metro PCS. There was then a loud commotion, the witness said. “We heard something, and then everything happened,” said the man, who didn’t want to be identified. “We didn’t know if they were shooting or what.”
One of the victims was found inside Metro PCS. The other victim ran outside where she met up with paramedics. Both were screaming. They were taken to UAB Hospital’s Trauma Center.
Birmingham police spokesman Sgt. Johnny Williams said investigators learned the man entered the store brandishing a gun and demanded money. As he made his demand, he shot one of the female employees.
The second female worker tried to run from the business but the suspect shot her at the door. He then returned to the register and grabbed an undisclosed amount of cash. Next, Williams said, he went to the rear of the business in search of more money.
He fled on foot. Robbery and homicide detectives canvassed the area and tracking dogs were brought in to hunt the suspect.
“We’re not quite sure what’s going through the suspect’s mind,” Williams said, “but we do know we consider this person a dangerous person and we want him off the streets as soon as possible.”
While there have been several other holdups at Metro PCS stores across the city, Williams said he doesn’t believe the company is being particularly targeted and said they don’t appear to be linked.
About 5 p.m. tracking dogs picked up the suspect’s scent along University Boulevard near I-65. Officers then spotted the man who was wearing clothing that matched the description of the assailant. They chased him on foot along the interstate and he then crossed the roadway with the team of officers close behind.
He was taken into custody on the east side of the interstate and placed in a patrol car. Authorities have not yet released his name.
Anyone with information about the suspect or the crime is asked to call Birmingham homicide detectives at 205-254-1764 or Crime Stoppers at 205-254-7777.