'Hurry up, he's got a rifle:' 911 calls released in Walgreens armed robbery

Witnesses say suspect thought 'people were after him'

By Adrienne Cutway - Web Editor

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Frantic employees called 911 begging for help after a paranoid man armed with a rifle jumped the pharmacy counter at a Walgreens Tuesday afternoon, according to the Daytona Beach Police Department.

Three women who work at the store called 911. Two of them made it out of the pharmacy safely while a third hid inside an office.

"He started jumping the counter and my pharmacist came and went toward him and I ran out of the pharmacy, and as I was running out I saw him pull out the gun, and I just ran and got people out of the store," a pharmacy technician said through tears.

The employee who was still inside the store did not realize at first that the man had a firearm. Once she did, panic struck.

"He's got a rifle. Hurry up, he's got a rifle," the woman yelled.

Surveillance video released Tuesday evening shows the man, later identified as Louis Curler, holding a backpack as he jumps over the counter. When a pharmacist approaches, he pulls out a gun and continues to demand drugs, the footage shows.

"It's a big huge gun. It's very, very large," a woman told 911.

All three women offered similar accounts, saying Curler was alone there for about 10 minutes demanding drugs.

"He was saying that people were after him. He said people were after him, he needs help," one woman said.

The witnesses told operators that Curler claimed he had just been released from a hospital and doctors there had been giving him drugs.

The pharmacist who was held at gunpoint gave Curler oxycodone along with a syringe, according to the arrest report. While Curler injected the drugs, the pharmacist ran to take cover moments before officers stormed the store.

Surveillance video shows officers firing at the armed man as he was crouched behind the pharmacy counter. Police said Curler pointed the loaded rifle at an investigator. Curler was shot in the back.

A spokesman for Walgreens said company officials appreciate the police department's response to the incident.

"We are committed to providing a safe environment for our customers and employees, and have a number of different security measures in place throughout our stores.  We are thankful to the Daytona Beach Police Department for their response and are cooperating with them in their investigation," the spokesman said in a statement.

No one else was injured during the incident and Curler, 41, never fired his weapon, according to authorities.

He faces charges of robbery with a firearm and kidnapping.

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