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Shooting of store clerk may be linked to other Akron robberies, police say

Rifle used in Firestone Park crimes
Posted at 6:33 PM, Nov 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-23 20:40:15-05

AKRON, Ohio — An Akron store clerk who was shot during a weekend robbery remains hospitalized after suffering internal injuries, according to his family.

News 5 is not releasing the name of the 26-year-old victim at the request of relatives. He's being treated at Cleveland Clinic Akron General Medical Center.

"He's in bad shape, but God willing, he'll be okay. He's a fighter. He's going to pull through," said his brother, Lakhan Gohil, who owns Firestone Mini-Mart where the shooting took place.

According to police, two teens or young men wearing hooded sweatshirts and masks walked into the carryout on Aster Avenue just before 9 p.m. on Saturday.

They went behind the counter with a rifle, demanded money, and then shot the clerk in the stomach, investigators said.

Surveillance video, provided by Gohil, shows his brother slowly going down to the ground while another worker gives money from a cash register to the thieves.

"They showed the gun and they were complying. Still, they shoot my brother," Gohil said.

According to Gohil, his brother suffered serious injuries to several of his organs.

The violent robbery is the latest incident putting people in the Firestone Park neighborhood on edge.

Two other hold-ups may have been committed by the same suspects, according to Lt. Michael Miller.

On the night of November 12, a rifle was pointed at two men outside of Park Place Pub on Aster Avenue, a block away from Firestone Mini-Mart.

Property belonging to one of the men was stolen. No one was hurt, police said.

One of the victims, who doesn't want his name released, recounted the horrifying moments.

"One with a gun, one without a gun. Brandished a weapon and pointed it at us. It was a long rifle. It had a silencer on it," he said.

About an hour after that robbery, another crime took place inside a BP on West Waterloo Road. A shot was fired, but no one was hit.

"Was it (fired) at someone, at someone's feet to scare someone? But it's troubling that they discharged a weapon," Miller said.

Officers released still photographs from the robberies outside of the bar and inside the gas station. In both cases, the suspects were wearing hooded sweatshirts and masks.

Miller said detectives believe all three of the robberies were committed by the same people or group.

"We won't rest and I don't think the community will— the surrounding community— until they're captured," Miller said.

About 10 minutes after the carryout shooting, a food delivery worker was lured to an apartment complex on Nadia Court near Arlington Plaza where he was robbed of food and money. Police are not sure if that crime is connected to the Firestone Park robberies, but they're investigating for any possible connection.

Miller said the string of Akron robberies underscores the importance for delivery workers, store employees, and customers to stay aware.

"All we ask, or try to encourage in a context like this, is to ask people to be even more vigilant," Miller said.

In the meantime, Gohil is hoping for justice for his brother.

"Every life matters, right? We don't go and take somebody's stuff. We work hard," he said. "I hope, I really hope that the cops will get them."