Sheriff Hopes Video Leads To Killer
LAKE CITY, Fla. – Three days after a 59-year-old store clerk was shot and killed during a robbery of a convenience store just off Interstate 10, Columbia County's sheriff released surveillance video he called disturbing that shows the crime.
After receiving permission of the victim's family and an enhancement of the video from the store's security system, the 40-second clip shows the fatal shooting from three angles.
The gunman is clearly seen entering the Joy America Grocery Store, shooting Linda Raulerson once in the arm, then demanding all the money from the cash register.
"Open the drawer; give it up," the robber can be heard saying. "Where the money?"
After grabbing the money from the counter, the robber shoots Raulerson once more -- fatally -- and leaves the store.
The robbery and shooting occurred about 8:30 p.m. Tuesday as Raulerson was preparing to close the store, located at the U.S. Highway 441 exit of I-10.
Columbia County Sheriff Bill Gootee said he not only wanted the video to be seen by the public, he wanted them to hear his voice, hoping that someone will recognize him and call authorities.
Gootee said they took the unusual step of releasing the entire, disturbing video because they want to catch this killer before he strikes again.
"She did everything that the robber demanded, and he shot her in cold blood," Gootee said. "We need your help."
Gootee said the robber was a black man between 5 feet 10 inches and 6 feet 2 inches wearing a dark, hooded sweatshirt and a baseball cap, long jean shorts, white sneakers and sunglasses.
Investigators believe he left the store in a white, four-door 1993-1995 Buick Regal with black trim.
"It's not common we have a murder captured on tape," said Columbia County Sheriff's Office Lt. Edward Seifert. "As tragic as it is, it's a good piece of evidence."
Law enforcement officials asked the public for help finding the gunman, but warned that he should be considered armed and dangerous.
A memorial to Raulerson has been put up at the store by her friends and loved ones.
Raulerson's family spoke out despite their grief because they want people to know what a good life was taken in a senseless crime.
"She loved the job, the people," Raulerson's husband of 38 years, John, said on Wednesday. "Everyone who came in the store was like her family."
Investigators are asking anyone with information about the robbery to call Crimestoppers at 386-754-7099. Callers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a cash reward.
"We want him off the street. We don't want this person to hurt another family like he's hurt us," Raulerson's adult son, Rusty, said.
- July 23, 2008: After Taking Cash, Gunman Kills Clerk
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