Store clerk in Fla. shoots, kills would-be robber

October 22, 2011 - 9:50 AM

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — A convenience store manager grabbed a gun from under the counter and shot a robber in the knee when the man scooped up the clerk's infant daughter, deputies and family members said Wednesday.

The robber tried to get into the cash register Tuesday afternoon at Del's 24-Hour Food Store in Naples but he couldn't open it. He grabbed a stroller with Elizabeth Easterly's 1-year-old in it and headed for the door, according to a sheriff's report and family members. Easterly shot the man and he died at a hospital.

"She's pretty much in shock, but she saved the baby," said Easterly's grandmother, Nancy Ackerman. "He was taking the baby outside, and she went over the top of the counter. I don't know how she did that because it's real high."

Easterly, 22, and her husband run the store for her grandfather, Del Ackerman. She was alone briefly during a shift change with her daughters, ages 1 and 2, when the man came in at about 3 p.m.

Ackerman, 75, said his granddaughter told him the man acted erratically and demanded money. As he fled the store, he tried to grab the baby, but couldn't get her loose from the stroller straps. When he began carrying it out, Easterly, as she had learned in a training course, shot the man once in his knee.

The robber, identified Wednesday as 32-year-old Daniel Ramont Hernandez, was tackled outside by a man coming to work at the store and held down until deputies arrived.

Police said the shooting was under investigation.

"I'm so thankful God saved my granddaughter and my grandbabies, because this guy was really vicious," Ackerman said.

Easterly and her children were not hurt, but the young woman was shaken up, her grandfather said. Calls to her cellphone rang unanswered Wednesday.

Ackerman said his family has run the store continuously for 47 years. It was closed while deputies processed the crime scene, but reopened at about 2 a.m. Wednesday.

"I'm not going to let one person in the United States close my doors," he said.

Naples is about 170 miles south of Tampa.