SHAWNEE, Kan. -- A liquor store robbery ended with a wild chase down the wrong way of Interstate 70. The suspected armed robber is now in the hospital.
Police have been concerned about a recent rash of robberies: four in the last two or three weeks. Police had a lot of officers out last night and they think they may have gotten their man.
Shawnee police tell FOX 4 News an armed man entered Halftime Liquors just after 8:30 Thursday night. A customer who was in the store at the time did not want to appear on camera but told FOX 4 News the robber put a gun to her back and then forced her and the store clerk to lie on the floor behind the counter. The clerk says this is the second time he's been robbed. He also declined to appear on camera. Police say the robber then forced the two victims into a cooler before making his getaway.
"They were probably pretty frightened," said Maj. Bill Hisle of the Shawnee Police. "If somebody points a gun at you, takes your money and tells you to get in the cooler, nobody is going to feel comfortable with that. I'm sure they were extremely frightened."
Police chased the suspect into Kansas City, Kan., where the robber initially got away. But that didn't last long. KCK officers spotted the getaway car again just after midnight and pursued the man to I-70 and K-7, where the robber lost control of his car. This is where police fired shots at the robber, and witnesses say for a while it sounded like a war zone.
"I heard about eight gunshots followed by about eight more gunshots," said Derek Van Broklin, who lives nearby. "Then I could hear a helicopter and then a lot more sirens. That's when I got up and said 'What in the world is going on?'"
Police say the suspect regained control of his car and started driving at high speeds westbound in the eastbound lanes of Interstate 70, a very dangerous situation for the public and police. Police say the armed man crashed into a large delivery truck and police chased him down on foot to make the arrest.
Police tell FOX 4 News the suspect remains hospitalized with minor injuries. Police say there are similarities with this robbery and other recent robberies. They're working to determine if this one man may be responsible for a series of hold-ups in the area.