Clerk shoots, kills two during liquor store holdup - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

UPDATE: Clerk shoots, kills two during liquor store holdup

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -- A store clerk shot and killed two people who police say were trying to rob the East 4th Street Liquor Store just before 2 a.m. on Wednesday.

The store clerk, 65-year old Johnny Lee Sanders, said he was just about to close the doors of the store when two men walked in demanding money.

"Two young guys could have just rushed in with a mask on, but they came with guns so they meant business," Sanders said.

Sanders said he believed  his life was in danger so he picked up a pistol in the store and shot the two men.

Twenty-one year-old Robert Maurice Bolden died on the scene and 21-year-old Antonio McNeal Sproles was pronounced dead at Allen Memorial Hospital. The store clerk was not injured.

Police say both suspects were armed, one with a .22 caliber rifle and the other with a .22 caliber handgun.

Police say the action of the clerk appears to be justified and the weapon he used, a .44 caliber handgun, was recovered at the scene. Sanders says the gun belonged to the liquor store. At this time, police do not expect to file charges against Sanders.

Waterloo Police Chief Dan Trelka says Iowa law allows businesses to have guns on the premises, but it's up to employers and employees on how to handle individual situations. Trelka says the goal is to prevent these types of situations from happening at all.

"We want to somehow break that cycle, intervene before it gets to that point because when any life is lost, it's a tragedy. But, we also have to keep in mind these two suspects initiated this action," Chief Trelka said.

Police say the business has been robbed numerous times, and they try to frequently patrol the area. Back in December 2009, a different suspect shot a different clerk in the arm at the same liquor store.

Sanders had worked for the store four years ago and had just come back to work for the store again. He said the store had never been robbed while he worked there.

Sanders says he feels terrible about what happened, but is thankful to be alive. During an interview with KWWL, he also expressed an apology to the parents of the two men who died.

Sanders says he plans to return to work, but that it will be difficult after what happened.

Online producer:  Adam Amdor
Online Reporter: Nikki Newbrough
Online Reporter: Danielle Wagner
Online Reporter: John Wilmer

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