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NADIA MOHARIB, SUN MEDIA
CALGARY — Two cops with guns drawn squared off in a parking lot yesterday with an axe-wielding man who robbed a northeast convenience store before lashing out at parked cars. Witnesses said the rampage began when a man ran into the Pineridge Convenience store in the city’s northeast end at about 10 a.m. The robber, dressed in an army fatigue jacket and wearing a bullet-proof vest, peppered demands for cash with profanities, smashing the store counter with the axe before running into the parking lot.
Once there, he left a trail of broken glass after swinging at five cars and at the door of a Royal Canadian Legion hall located next door to the store.
Within minutes, two cops were on the scene after the clerk set off a panic alarm.
Sgt. Dave Jennings said the 23-year-old robber made no efforts to flee the scene and “fortunately complied” when he and Const. Shawn MacGillivary demanded he drop the axe.
“He was wearing body armour, an older style bullet-proof vest, which was definitely cause for concern,” Jennings said. “It almost seemed as if he wanted to be caught – it was definitely surreal.”
No one was injured, although one of two patrons in the store suffered minor cuts when shards of glass struck their face.
The axe-wielding bandit took out the window in Shane Cuffley’s car, but the teen – who was buying cat food when the suspect sprinted into the store and briefly locked eyes with him – was happy no one was hurt.
“I kinda went into the corner so that hopefully he wouldn’t see me, I just wanted to get out of there and when I did, I just booked it,” Cuffley said a short time later.
Cops are looking into whether the suspect is behind other recent robbery cases.
Dist. 5 Acting Staff Sgt. Mike Watterston said cops learned the man had pre-existing mental health issues and was on depression medication, which likely explain his actions.
The man faces a robbery charge, seven counts of property damage and a count of possessing a dangerous weapon.