Allentown, Pennsylvania

From Harrisburg’s PennLive.com of November 17, 2007

Police searching for robber in fatal Allentown holdup

Allentown police are searching for an unidentified male robber after a botched robbery at a center city mini-market Friday night left one of the robbers dead and two of the store’s workers hospitalized.

At 6:29 p.m., Jonathan D. Fernandez and an unknown man entered the Allen Mini Market at 601 N. Ninth St. and attempted to rob the store at gunpoint and knifepoint, Assistant Police Chief Ron Manescu said tonight.

The married store owners, Catalino Bautista, 44, and Eneyda Ponce, 46, were working in the store with Ponce’s 27-year-old son, Wilson Cabrera, Manescu said. During the robbery attempt, Bautista was shot in the chest and Cabrera was stabbed in the chest. Manescu declined to specify exactly when they were injured.

“Even though they were injured, they began to fight back,” Manescu said, noting this caused the robber wielding the knife to flee the store.

Bautista, Cabrera and Ponce tackled Fernandez, 30, of the 600 block of Tilghman Street in the city, and a “violent struggle ensued,” he said.

During the struggle, Fernandez was fatally shot but police did not specify who shot him and whether it was with his own gun.

“I’m not going to get into any other details,” Manescu said. “We have a lot of people to talk to, and we have to get some facts straightened out. All we can say is he received his injuries during the struggle until we get further in our investigation.”

Bautista is in critical condition at Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest. Cabrera is listed in serious condition, Manescu said. Ponce suffered minor injuries in the struggle but was not hospitalized.

Police are also looking for two customers who fled the store at the time of the robbery.

Lehigh County Coroner Scott Grim pronounced Fernandez dead at 7:25 p.m. Friday at the store. An autopsy Saturday determined he died from gunshot wounds to the body, Grim said.

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