Inside Johnson County liquor store robbery: Employee, customer share frightening stories

SHAWNEE, Kan. - An employee and customer at a Johnson County, Kan., liquor store were put into a walk-in cooler Thursday night during a robbery that led to a wild police chase, shooting and crash.

Both were rattled Friday and did not want to be identified, but shared their frightening stories with 41 Action News.

The employee at Halftime Liquor Store, 15810 Shawnee Mission Parkway in Shawnee, says he's only been there one month and he thinks the suspect is the same man who robbed him before while working at the store. Police in Shawnee have said the man matches the description of suspects in previous liquor store robberies in the area.

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The female customer says she was paying for her purchase at about 8:45 p.m. when she noticed somebody behind her. As she was about to turn around, she felt a gun in her back.

The customer says the robber took her around the counter to where the employee was standing. She thinks he unsuccessfully tried to get money from the register before leading them both to the cooler before leaving.

They only stayed in the cooler for about five minutes, the customer said, but it felt like an eternity.

The customer said she had never stopped at that particular store before, and doesn't plan on doing so again.

After leaving the store, the suspect led Shawnee police officers on a chase into Kansas City, Kan., where they lost track of the man's black Chevrolet Cobalt. A KCK police officer spotted the vehicle a couple of hours later, beginning a second chase that went back into Shawnee before heading into Bonner Springs, Kan., where a Shawnee officer fired his weapon at the suspect.

The chase eventually ended in a violent crash with a FedEx truck about 1.5 miles west of K-7 on Interstate 70.

The suspect was hospitalized with unspecified injuries. The FedEx driver was not injured.

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Sarah Hollenbeck contributed to this report

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