Three shot during botched purse robbery

Victims tried to aid woman being robbed on store lot

September 05, 2002|By Johnathon E. Briggs | Johnathon E. Briggs,SUN STAFF

Three people who attempted to aid a woman being robbed in the parking lot of a Southwest Baltimore liquor store were shot and seriously wounded yesterday afternoon by robbers who opened fire on them before fleeing in a car driven by an accomplice.

The robbers did not escape with any money.

But the shootings left Dennis Epps, 42, of the 1000 block of Greenmount Ave. and 16-year- old Anita Frampton of the 2000 block of Grinnalds Ave. in critical condition last night at Maryland Shock Trauma Center.

Epps, a store employee, was shot in the stomach, while Frampton was shot in the neck, according to police.

Anita's brother, Timothy Frampton, 21, of the same address, was shot in the foot, authorities said. He was listed in stable condition at St. Agnes HealthCare.

The violent incident began to unfold shortly before 4 p.m., police said, when two men stepped inside Southwest Discount Liquors in the 3200 block of Washington Blvd.

While inside, they watched a woman cash a check and then followed her as she left.

When the woman stepped into the store's parking lot, the men attempted to steal her purse and she began screaming for help, police said.

That is when the three people - the brother and sister, who had been in a car on the parking lot, and the store employee - tried to come to her aid.

But one of the robbers opened fire with a handgun, then their accomplice - who apparently had been parked nearby - pulled up in a silver Chevrolet Cavalier and the pair jumped in, police said.

The getaway car collided with a delivery truck parked on the lot before speeding north on Caton Avenue.

About three hours after the shooting, police found the getaway car in the 100 block of S. Augusta Ave. in Irvington.

But last night, the three robbers - described as males between ages 17 and 19 - remained free.

As police combed the parking-lot crime scene for evidence, the liquor store's general manager, Gene Modell, said he was disturbed and angry by the shooting of Epps, a five-year employee.

"If they didn't have a gun, he would have put them in his hand and squeezed the blood out of their ears," Modell said of Epps, whom he described as a 6-foot, 220-pound man with an equally big heart.

"He's a good guy, the best. He won't tolerate that stuff."

A deliveryman whose truck was hit on the lot witnessed the shooting, but would not talk to a reporter about it before giving his account to the police.

Frank H. Falter III, a co-worker of the deliveryman, said he was told by the witness that one of the robbers fired shots from the car window while fleeing the scene - not before.

"They had already gotten away," Falter said. "They didn't have to shoot anybody."

Police were continuing to investigate the shooting. They obtained videotape from a camera in the liquor store, hoping it would help identify the robbers.

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