Worcester store clerk shot in face in ‘senseless’ violent act during seven-hour crime wave in city

WORCESTER — Police continue to investigate the shooting of a Honey Farms store clerk on Vernon Street where two masked men entered the store and shot the clerk in the face after stealing money from the cash register.

The shooting, about 12:30 a.m., was part of a violent seven-hour span in the city, in which two people were shot, two officers were injured apprehending a man with a gun, and another Honey Farms convenience store was robbed. Police are not linking the two convenience store robberies at this time, but also have not ruled out a connection.

Police were called to the Honey Farms at 64 Vernon St. about 12:30 a.m. for a report of a shooting. The 66-year-old clerk was shot in the face after two suspects, at least one with a gun, entered the store.

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The suspects demanded cash. After the register drawer was removed and the cash was taken, the clerk was shot, police said. The robbers then ran off.

The clerk was taken to an area hospital, where he is listed in serious condition this morning.

The store is closed today. Employees refused to talk to a reporter and eventually pulled down police crime scene tape that was blocking the store’s entrance.

Investigators are studying the store’s surveillance tapes.

Police Chief Gary J. Gemme said he reviewed the videotape of the clerk shooting. He found the footage upsetting.

“It is disturbing that the victim who was shot appeared to be both cooperative and passive and the violence inflicted by the suspect was senseless, malicious, and unprovoked,” he said.

The seven hours of violence began about 9:30 Tuesday night, when the Honey Farms at 443 Park Ave. was robbed. Two men entered the store and demanded cash. Detectives have not said for certain there is a link between the two robberies.

In the Park Avenue robbery, a female clerk was approached by a man wielding a revolver. He walked behind the counter as an accomplice entered, police said. The two men stole cash and ran off. The clerk was unharmed.

Later, about 4 this morning, police were called to two other unrelated incidents. In one, a man was shot on Washington Street, and in the other, shots were reportedly fired on Perry Avenue.

Officers arriving at Perry Avenue encountered a man who allegedly reached for a gun in his waistband, police said. There was a scuffle in which the suspect allegedly punched an officer in the face. A second officer injured his leg in the incident and could be out of work for some time.

The suspect ran off, but police eventually arrested him. His identity has not been released.

About 4:15 a.m. police were called to Washington Street, where they found a man on the sidewalk with gunshot wounds. The 50-year-old victim, a Worcester resident, had been shot several times. Police have not released his medical condition.

Evidence was recovered at the scene. Detectives continue to investigate.