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Baldwin man is second clerk attacked this week in area

A convenience store clerk was killed in an armed robbery late Wednesday in Baldwin County.

At about 9 p.m., the gunman entered the Lina Food Store, 2693 Irwinton Road, outside of Milledgeville, said Baldwin County Sheriff Bill Massee.

Dilipbhai Babubhai Patel, 51, died at the scene after being shot, according to the incident report.

Massee said he didn’t think Patel had time to fight back.

“We view this really as a very aggressive type crime,” he said.

Another employee working outside witnessed the robbery.

“He heard Mr. Patel loudly scream that there was a robbery going on,” Massee said. “He heard gunshots and went to the door. Really, we were very lucky there weren’t two victims.”

So far, Massee said deputies haven’t been able to document that any money was taken.

He said it’s possible the other employee may have caused the robber to leave before taking anything.

The gunman is described as a young black man who was wearing a gray shirt, black pants, baseball cap and large sunglasses.

He left in a tan Toyota Camry or Ford Contour headed toward the Harrisburg community.

Investigators worked through the night and were following leads in the case Thursday.

Deputies are reviewing surveillance footage from the store’s security camera in hopes of identifying the gunman, Massee said.

He said Patel was well-liked in the community.

“The neighbors were very concerned and it went beyond just a store owner being shot. They genuinely liked him,” Massee said. “They said he was nice to the community, and I think they viewed this as a terrible incident and a personal loss.”

His small white store was protected with burglar bars on the windows and door and razor wire was strung around the top of the chain link fence next to the building.

The fatal shooting was just down the street from where deputy Will Robinson was killed after an armed robbery in 1995.

Staff writer Amy Leigh Womack contributed to this report. To contact writer Liz Fabian, call 744-4303.

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