JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Convenience stores have long been targets for nighttime robberies and other crimes.
For that reason, Florida law requires security measures to help protect employees after 11 p.m.
But Zuheily Rosado was shot around 10:20 p.m. Thursday in Palm Coast, about 40 minutes before that law takes effect.
Bob Bednar has worked behind a one Jacksonville convenience store counter for 10 years. His safety is always top of mind.
"It's not a matter of if it's going to happen but when, so the only thing you can do is be really, really vigilant," Bednar said.
He said he and all the employees at La Colonia Supermercado are armed. At one time, the mini mart's owner hired off-duty police officers after dark. He also installed outdoor lights and an an extensive camera system.
"I don't worry too much during the daytime, but at night I'm very vigilant, and I try to see who's coming in this door before they ever get here," Bednar said. "That's why I have all these cameras outside."
Bednar said he never works alone.
"That's the one thing that should never happen is people working by themselves at night," he said.
The security seems to be paying off. La Colonia has never had a robbery.
But the store's safety measures far exceed Florida law.
Security cameras, a silent alarm and lit parking lots are required at every Florida convenience store. The law calls for other safety measures between 11 p.m.and 5 a.m., but only if the business had a robbery, battery or kidnapping in the past.
Then, law requires one of the following:
- More than one employee on premises
- Bullet resistant material in front of the counter
- A security guard
- Locking the door and using a pass through
- Or, closing for the night
Channel 4 safety expert Ken Jefferson said convenience stores benefit when they use many of these safety measurements together.
Bednar says his extreme vigilance is what has kept him safe for so long.
Another Florida law requires convenience store employees to be trained on how to deal with robbery and related crime. But that training can vary.
According to the director of the Florida Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association, each store ownership trains its employees differently depending on their location and circumstances. The director said 58 percent of Florida's convenience stores have independent ownership.