Suspected armed robber, Palm Bay police officer identified in shooting
Police: Calls from Walgreens customers helped catch gunman
Palm Bay police officers released the surveillance video on Wednesday showing the minutes before an armed robbery suspect was shot by officers late Tuesday night outside a Walgreens near Brevard Community College.
Kenneth Kirwan Jr., 20, of West Melbourne, was shot by police just after 11 p.m. outside the Malabar Road store, according to police. Kirwan, who is in critical condition at a hospital, faces a felony charge of armed robbery, police said.
Several witnesses inside the store called 911 just after a gunman entered the Walgreens, put on a mask and robbed the pharmacist. In the video, Kirwan is spotted putting a small gun to the back of the worker's head before trying to run off with drugs, money and cigarettes.
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"All he said to the cashier was 'I want some Oxycodones,'" said Kenyata Kirkman, who was filling a prescription at the pharmacy when the gunman arrived. "I was scared something was going to happen to me. I just kept thinking about getting to that front door."
Officers arrived at the store, which is open 24 hours a day, as the armed robbery was happening, Palm Bay police spokeswoman Yvonne Martinez said.
When the gunman tried to run away, shots were fired and he was hit, Martinez said.
Palm Bay police will investigate the robbery while the Florida Department of Law Enforcement will investigate the police shooting. In the meantime, Officer Josh Taylor, 40, will be on paid administrative leave pending the investigation--a protocol following the use of deadly force.
According to police, Taylor has been with the department since 2002, is a certified firearms instructor and has been an active member of the SWAT team since 2004.
“Whenever an officer is put in a situation where he has to make a decision to use deadly force it is ultimately to protect his life and the lives of others that may be in danger,” said Chief Doug Muldoon in a release. “Unfortunately the suspect and his dangerous actions resulted in his current condition. We will cooperate fully with the FDLE investigation and will ensure a thorough and unbiased investigation into the circumstances surrounding this incident. Our officers are exceptionally trained to handle these types of incidents and their number one priority is the safety of the public.”
No one else was hurt during the robbery and the shooting.
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