Tifton police responded to a call regarding an armed robbery Thursday night that ended with the death of a local man.
At about 8:58 p.m., officers arrived at the Funny Fruit Thrift Store, located at 1424 North Tift Avenue. Shots had already been fired when officers arrived. According to the report, officers were told that at about 8:53 p.m. a tall, heavy-set black male had come into the store wearing a "baby blue do-rag" over part of his face, a dark blue shirt and gray pants. He was carrying what appeared to be a handgun wrapped in cloth.
The man allegedly confronted a store employee near the back of the business and demanded money. The employee pulled out a handgun and shot the man multiple times. The employee told officers when they arrived that he had shot the man in the stomach.
Despite his injuries, the man fled the store, and the employee said he heard tires screeching, like a vehicle leaving hurriedly. The employee's account of what happened was verified by a customer who was in the store at the time. The weapon was secured and turned in to the officer who had originally responded to the call.
About that time, another call was received about an accident with injuries at Old Ocilla Road and East 12th Street, approximately five blocks from the scene of the attempted armed robbery.
Officers from both the Tifton Police Department and the Tift County Sheriff's Office responded, having been told it likely involved the suspect from the attempted robbery. This turned out to be the case.
Thirty-five-year-old Bennie J. Hill of Tifton was the driver of the car at the scene, and was transported to Tift Regional Medical Center with multiple gunshot wounds. He died a short time later.
An autopsy has been requested and the investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information regarding the case is asked to call detectives Terry Allen or Jared York at 382-3132.
To contact editor Angye Morrison, call 382-4321.