GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A suspect in an early morning armed robbery at a party store forced a gun into the mouth of the clerk before pulling the trigger and shooting him in the cheek, a friend of the clerk told FOX 17.
Police in Grand Rapids are now working to track down the suspect after he robbed the Bottlenecks party store in the 2000 block of Fuller Ave NE in Grand Rapids around midnight Saturday.
Police said the suspect entered the store, pointed a gun at the 34-year-old store clerk, and demanded money. The suspect then shot the store clerk in the face and ran from the scene with an unknown amount of cash.
Manpaul Sing, a former Bottlenecks employee and good friend of the clerk, told FOX 17 Sunday afternoon his friend was forced into a back room at the store where the suspected robber placed the gun in his mouth. Sing said his friend put up a fight, grabbing the suspect's hand to force the gun away, which is why the bullet hit his cheek.
Sing, who would only identify his friend to FOX 17 as "Tony," said the clerk had been working at Bottlenecks less than a month.
"It’s kind of an odd thing to happen here, it’s more of a safe neighborhood," Sing said. "It was a random thing that happened, there was no motive behind it, just the money."
Tony was released from the hospital this afternoon and is recovering at home, Sing told FOX 17.
"It could have been a lot worse, he definitely got lucky," Sing said. "He was feeling better but he’s still traumatized, wasn’t feeling good, like obviously because he got shot in the cheek, you could see the blood stains."
Investigators used a K-9 unit to track the suspect early Sunday, but had no luck.
Police were only offer a vague description of the suspect who is believed to be a black man who is about 6 feet tall. The suspect left the store wearing a black hoodie, quilted flannel shirt and black pants, according to investigators.
Anyone with information is being asked to call Silent Observer or the Grand Rapids Police Department at 616-456-3400.
FOX 17s Erica Francis contributed to this report.