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APD: Security guard shoots Ace robbery suspect

By Bonney Bowman Photojournalist: Jared Mazurek - 9:47 PM June 17, 2017

A man was shot while trying to rob an Anchorage hardware store. Now, he’s in custody and the store owner is crediting a loss prevention officer with saving lives.

Just after 5 p.m. Saturday, police say a man walked into Andy’s Ace Hardware on Muldoon and pulled out a gun.

“[He] pointed it at the clerk working the cash register, demanded money from the cash register,” said Sgt. Jeremy Conkling.

Anchorage Police say the man, identified as 45-year-old William McCann, shot the register several times.

Owner Stephanie Van Ness was in the back of the store at the time and didn’t see what was happening.

“We heard a noise. We thought maybe a box had dropped out on the sales floor,” she said.

The sound was a gunshot. Police say after getting the cash, McCann shot the register.

“We heard three more shots and we knew something was wrong,” said Van Ness.

When McCann ran out the front door, police say he met a loss prevention officer.

“We do believe at this point the suspect fired on the security guard and then the security guard fired at least two times, striking the suspect,” said Conkling.

The security guard was not shot, and no other injuries were reported.

Customers and employees all evacuated safely and the wounded suspect was soon in custody.

“I do strongly feel that our loss prevention officer today saved lives,” said Van Ness.

Officers are also looking for a vehicle involved in the crime– a Ford Bronco, which police say dropped the suspect off and then fled when the security guard shot McCann.

In the store’s 55 years, third generation owner Van Ness said a crime like this is a first.

“Never happened,” she said. “We’ve had shoplifting, unfortunately, more lately than there has been in the past, but this is the first time we’ve had a robbery, and especially a robbery with a weapon.”

How her store is a crime scene. Van Ness said what happened here is happening all over town.

“I feel like all of Anchorage is being hit all the time now and people probably weren’t talking about it like they should be to get it fixed and people are starting to talk about it now and understand what a problem shoplifting is,” she said.

For Van Ness, owning her grandfather’s hardware store is about helping customers. They closed for the rest of Saturday, but, she says come Sunday, their doors will open and they’ll get back to business as usual.

“We’re a family here and everybody came together and helped make sure everybody was safe.”

Upon his release from the hospital Sunday, McCann was charged with first-degree robbery, two counts of third-degree assault, misconduct involving weapons, theft and reckless endangerment.

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