Shots ring out in Palestine Wal-Mart, 2 arrested

Michael Darkins and Terrance Williams. Photo Source: Anderson County
Michael Darkins and Terrance Williams. Photo Source: Anderson County

PALESTINE, TX (KLTV) - By Layron Livingston - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email | Twitter

PALESTINE, TX (KLTV) - Gunfire rings out in an East Texas store. Police say two men entered the Palestine Wal-Mart shortly after 10 p.m. Thursday, and one of them with a gun.

Now, Michael Darkens, 21, and Terrance Williams, 31, are behind bars, facing aggravated robbery charges. Police say they made off with a shopping cart full of cash, but they didn't get far.

It was all caught on tape.

Surveillance video from inside the store shows both suspects bursting from the cart storage area. One waves a gun and assaults a store greeter. The other b-lines it to an employee pushing a cart full of register drawers. Not even 20 seconds later the two bolt from the front of the store.

"They couldn't get the cart across the curb," said Lt. Jeff Powell with the Palestine Police Department. "It fell over and they grabbed money out of the cart."

Powell said the two suspects headed an apartment complex just north of the store.

"It's definitely disturbing that the trend is anything's fair game," he said.

Powell said an off-duty officer was actually inside the store shopping with his children when one shot rang-out.

"[The officer] was armed and had his identification with him.  He ushered his children to the back of the store with some Wal-Mart employees and went up front to see if he could assist."

Powell said by the time the officer got to the front of the store,  suspects were gone.  Williams and Darkins allegedly went through an opening in the fence behind the apartment complex, took what money they could and split up.

Moments later, Kenneth Jeffrey said he heard noise coming from the back of his apartment.  He says one of the suspects was trying to pull on his door.  "I hollered at them, and he took off running, so I took off after him," said Jeffrey.

Maria Harper said she was sitting outside, chatting with other neighbors when the other suspect came running by.

"He was kind of holding something and he jumped the fence," said Olivia Griffin.  "We all joked, 'Well, he just did something wrong,' and the next thing we know, there are cops everywhere," she said.

Police searched the area and within a couple of hours, both suspects were in custody.  One was pulled from the dumpster.

"The whole time we were sitting there we didn't know he was in the trash can," said Harper.

Police reported one bullet hit an ice machine inside the front of the store.  Authorities are still trying to determine whether that shot was fired intentionally, or accidentally.

No one was seriously injured. The robbery is still under investigation.

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