Crime

Store clerk shot in Pascagoula may need surgery

Surveillance video shows the suspect in a robbery pointing a .22 caliber semi-automatic handgun inside the Murphy Express in Pascagoula on Thursday.
Surveillance video shows the suspect in a robbery pointing a .22 caliber semi-automatic handgun inside the Murphy Express in Pascagoula on Thursday. Pascagoula Police Department

A convenience store clerk is in a New Orleans hospital after a masked gunman shot the woman before she even had a chance to open the cash register, police said Friday.

The Murphy Express gas station in front of the Lowe’s parking lot was robbed at 3 a.m. Thursday. The man got no money, police said, but he left Daphne Collins, 39, with a .22 caliber bullet lodged in her spine.

Collins was taken to nearby Singing River Hospital and then to University Medical Center in New Orleans, which had her under observation on Friday to see if she’s a candidate for surgery.

“They’re trying to decide the best course of action,” Pascagoula police Lt. Doug Adams told the Sun Herald.

Collins had an upbeat post on her Facebook page about 10 p.m. Thursday: “Good evening everyone! I’m still here! I love y’all. Thank you for the prayers!!” With 30 responses from friends and loved ones.

He walks in. She is trying to duck down. He shoots.

Pascagoula police Lt. Doug Adams

At the Murphy Express at U.S. 90 and Chicot Road, police believe the gunman walked in with the .22 caliber semi-automatic handgun and confronted the clerk right way.

The gunman shot her one time before he ran away. Surveillance video recorded him reaching over the counter with his gun. Police believe she ducked or tried to duck behind the counter to avoid being shot.

“He walks in. She is trying to duck down. He shoots,” Adams said. “If you look in the pictures, you’ll see his hand is across the counter. It happened fast.”

Adams said they are not sure where in her body he shot her, but believe the small-caliber bullet traveled to her spine, where it lodged.

The man police described as black, 5-foot-11 and 165 pounds ran from the building and remained on foot, police said. Police said he walked into the store wearing a black-and-gold mask with Saints emblems on it. They found it later. It looks like a makeshift ski mask — a Saints scarf with eye holes cut into it. He also was wearing a maroon top, black pants and white tennis shoes.

Adams said Pascagoula hasn’t had a convenience store clerk shot on duty in 20 years. One was killed during a robbery in the mid-1990s at a Circle K store at Eden Street and Old Mobile Highway.

“Most people who rob, come to rob. They don’t usually shoot you,” Adams said.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Pascagoula Police Department at 228-762-2211 or Mississippi Coast Crime Stoppers at 1-877-787-5898.

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