Pond search fails to find evidence in Centerville shooting

lfabian@macon.comJune 4, 2014 

This image from a surveillance camera shows a February armed robbery in progress at the Pure convenience store in Centerville. Clerk Rohitkumar Patel was shot during the robbery.

Centerville Police Chief Sidney Andrews was hoping for a break Wednesday in a February convenience store armed robbery and shooting.

Acting on a tip and investigative leads, the Houston County dive team searched for undisclosed evidence for nearly six hours in a small pond in Spring Lake Mobile Home Park.

GBI technicians were on hand in case something turned up that was relevant to the Feb. 12 holdup at the Pure convenience store at 820 Houston Lake Blvd.

They found nothing, Andrews said.

Clerk Rohitkumar Patel is still at home recovering from a gunshot wound to the face.

“He has a long road ahead of him and more surgeries,” Andrews said.

Investigators say the 38-year-old, who was well-liked by his customers, did exactly what the gunman demanded that night.

He handed over cash from both tills, but was still shot about 10:20 p.m.

“It really concerns us because it was obvious this suspect was trying to cause harm to Mr. Patel and probably would hurt someone else,” Andrews said after Wednesday’s search.

Video surveillance indicates the gunman was likely a black male between 5-feet-5 and 5-feet-8 inches tall and wearing a blue cap, red bandana and blue gloves.

He fired a .40-caliber semiautomatic with an extended magazine that might have held 20 bullets.

Anyone with information about the shooter is urged to call Detective Sgt. Phillip Pritchett at 478-953-4222 or Macon Regional Crimestoppers at 877-68-CRIME.

To contact writer Liz Fabian, call 744-4303.

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