Crime & Courts

Clerk arrested after woman beaten inside store

It looked like a robbery was unfolding in front of them, so customers outside a south Wichita convenience store called 911 Wednesday morning.

It wasn’t, authorities said, but by the time the incident was over, a swarm of law enforcement officers had descended on the Presto convenience store at 4820 S. Broadway, a clerk had been stunned and arrested, and his bloody ex-girlfriend had been freed.

The incident began at about 9 a.m. when customers outside the store noticed a man beating a woman inside the store, Lt. Chris Halloran said. They called 911, and officers rushed to the store thinking a robbery was underway.

“That’s what it looked like” to witnesses, Halloran said.

As officers arrived and approached the store, Halloran said, the man locked the entrance with a set of keys and refused to let them inside. An officer ran to the other side of the building to another entrance.

He was able to get inside, where he ordered the suspected robber to surrender, Halloran said. The man refused and a scuffle broke out.

One of the officers radioed for additional assistance, Halloran said, and a supervisor ordered 911 to issue an “officer in trouble” alert.

That sent officers from all over the city to the scene, where the suspect was finally subdued with a Taser, Halloran said. As the man was being subdued, a woman walked out of a back room. Her wrists were tied up, her face and hands bloody.

The man wasn’t a robber, Halloran said. He was a clerk on duty at the Presto. The woman is his ex-girlfriend, who came to the store to talk to him.

It’s not clear what prompted the attack on the woman, Halloran said. The man was taken into custody for questioning.

The woman had cuts and bruises, Halloran said. The cuts “were caused by a sharp instrument of some kind,” he said.

The case remains under investigation.