Wearing a flak jacket and handgun on his hip, the cashier buried his face in his hands, crying hard, saying he never wanted trouble.
Two days ago a pair of gunmen tried to rob his family’s liquor store in Canton. When the shooting ended, one robber was fatally wounded by the cashier, police said.
“God created him, too,” the cashier said, tears running down his face. “I have to answer for that. I have to answer for it! For the rest of my life, it’s going to be on my conscience.”
His uncle shouted at him from across the store. “You had to do it, man!”
The words brought no consolation to the grief-stricken 35-year-old. He is one of six brothers whose family has run House of Spirits on Fleet Street for decades. On Monday, the cashier was back at work, but traumatized.
He asked for anonymity out of fear for his safety, and police are not identifying him.
He also works as a licensed bail agent, and as he spoke Monday he was wearing his bullet-proof vest, badge and handgun. He had been forced to defend himself, he said. He only wanted to work his family’s liquor store in peace.
“We do feel remorse,” he said. “I didn’t want this to happen.”
The second robber made off, and a patrol car was parked outside the liquor store on Monday.
Inside, the cashier spoke of his grief and worry. The brothers have been robbed over the years. In November, they were robbed at gunpoint. Crime has only worsened, he said.
The cashier said he can’t sleep. He showed the cuts in his bottom lip, saying he can’t stop chewing it. His hands were trembling. He worried the second robber would return.
“All my friends are telling me to calm down,” he said.
The shootout happened Saturday at 7:30 p.m. An off-duty police officer heard the gunfire and rushed out in his socks to help. The wounded robber had collapsed two blocks away on Collington Avenue. He was taken to a hospital where he died. Police say they found a gun on him.
Jeremy Silbert, a police spokesman, said they haven’t identified the robber, but he was in his mid-30s.
Now, the cashier says his family wants to sell and move away.
Since the 1980s, he said, they have been devoted to the liquor store. The sons all take shifts on the cash register. It’s just a small neighborhood store, but they have faithful customers. Neighbors walked up Monday to offer their support.