Botched robbery puts industry businesses on edge

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE)- New details have been released about the deadly shooting at a smoke shop Sunday, and it looks like more clerks could soon have guns behind the counter.

The owner of that shop, Kane Oueis, said the robber had come and gone but then came back.

“His intentions were not just to take the money. I am not sure why he came back, we are not sure why he came back, he came back, from the looks of it, extremely, extremely angry just looking to hurt people. He came in to hurt whoever was in that store at that moment,” said Oueis.

The shooting happened Sunday afternoon at the Oasis Smoke Shop on Menaul in northeast Albuquerque. The owner said the robber was armed when he first walked in and demanded money. He says his employees followed all his directions and the robber left with the cash, but then he came back.

“We did not have a gun in there, one of our employees did and it wasn’t on him at the moment. It was actually hidden in his backpack. He actually had to reach out for that to protect himself,” explained Oueis.

The employee shot and killed the robber. Police said that employee was questioned and released.

“I’m sure there will  follow up interviews conducted but no one arrested appears to be a case of self defense at this point,” explained Officer Tanner Tixier.

Oueis is still reeling from what his employees had to go through and is worried the robber’s friends could come after them.

“I’m really proud of my team, I’m proud of my guys, I’m proud of how they handled the situation. They listened to this individual, they did everything he wanted them to do and even then, it wasn’t enough,” Oueis says.

Oueis said he’s been burglarized twice in the four years they have been open on Menaul, but never robbed. He said they have a solid security system and a panic alarm is what led police to the business in the first place.

While Oueis said he doesn’t encourage his employees to carry weapons, he doesn’t discourage them either. The only requirement is that they have the proper permits.

Many shops do have firearms on hand.

“The alarm systems, someone’s always watching the cameras, stuff like that and we do have a weapon in the shop, just in case,” explainedDuke City Vapors Manager Jonathan Velarde. “I mean, there are times that are necessary, eventually. We don’t want to be caught off guard or anything like that…I just wish I never have to use it. It’s just there in case. It’s just peace of mind for everybody who works here, knowing you can protect yourself.”

The deadly botched robbery has put shops like Oasis on edge. It’s spurring some businesses to take a hard look at whether they want to invest in a weapon.

“That could have been us…It definitely makes you think. It makes you think about your safety, your employees’ safety and making the right decisions to protect yourself…We have full security system, we have full surveillance 24/7, high resolution images, things like that but, that doesn’t necessarily protect you right there in that moment,” said one shop owner who asked to remain anonymous.

Police are not releasing the name of the robber just yet so, it’s unclear whether he has a violent history.

Oueis said he will be doing more training with his employees from here out. He also said while he’s proud of his team, his heart goes out to the family of the dead robber and said they all feel horrible this happened.

APD says people don’t necessarily need any special permits like a concealed carry to have a gun at a business as long as it’s not a liquor establishment.

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