1 killed in Lake City store robbery

3 schools put on lockdown during manhunt for robbers

LAKE CITY, Fla. - Lake City police were searching for two robbers, one of whom shot and killed a person while holding up a convenience store Friday afternoon.

The Lake City Police Department said the killing happened during the holdup of the A&M Discount Beverage on East Duval Street. Police said the victim was 55-year-old Rajni Patel, the owner of the store. Patel was working with his wife, Daxa Patel at the time of the shooting. Police said Daxa was shot at as well, but not harmed.

Witnesses said there were two robbers. A young black man, about 5 feet 7 inches tall weighing about 180 pounds with short hair and wearing a gray T-shirt and jeans entered the store about 1:30 p.m., took money and left the store in a vehicle, police said.

A second robber, lighter skinned, in his mid-30s and weighing 230-250 pounds, was wearing a straw hat with a white baggie tee shirt, light blue jeans and dark shoes with white tape across his nose and on the left side of his neck. He entered the store and shot the victim, police said. He ran from the store on foot and tried to carjack a white Mercury in the parking lot. The owner of the car would not allow him to enter and drove away to another convenience store about a mile away, police said.

The Florida Department of Corrections responded with a K-9 unit to track the second robber.

Because the man on foot ran in the direction of schools in session within one mile of the robbery, Melrose Park Elementary, Eastside Elementary and Richardson Middle were placed on lockdown as a precaution.

The Columbia County School District held walkers and bus riders at the school until parents could pick up their children.

If you have any information about the men sought in the killing, call Lake City police at 386-719-2068.

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