ATLANTIC CITY — Police fatally shot a man after he stabbed a clerk to death inside a local market Tuesday morning.
It was only the clerk’s second day of work when the suspect entered the Cedar Market on the 400 block of Pennsylvania Avenue and attacked.
“He was not demanding money,” said owner Issa Nammour, who was at one of Cedar’s other city locations when he got a call that something bad had happened. “(The suspect) just decided to get up in the morning and kill somebody.”
Video inside the market shows the suspect walk into the store, go behind the counter as the unsuspecting clerk is at the register, then stab the man in the neck.
The 29-year-old clerk stumbles out from behind the counter and falls to the floor. After fighting with another worker, the suspect starts to leave the store. But first, he stabs the felled worker again.
As the attacker flees across the street, he is confronted by arriving police and shot. The city’s ShotSpotter audio gunshot-detection system registered eight shots fired.
The suspect was rushed to AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center’s City Campus, where he was pronounced dead, Atlantic County Prosecutor Jim McClain said.
It was unclear what sparked the attack. The suspect was a customer of the store, Nammour said.
A woman who said she arrived in a car as the man fled said he said, “One down, two more to go.”
He ran and was shot by police.
The woman, who spoke on camera, declined to give her name.
McClain has not released the identity of either man, pending notification of next of kin. Autopsies are set for Wednesday.
The clerk had just returned from a vacation in his native Egypt and was beginning his second day on the job.
“He just started work yesterday,” said Nammour’s brother, Nimer Nammour. “It was just his luck. It could have been anybody.”
Mayor Don Guardian visited the scene twice during the hours detectives from the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office gathered evidence and talked to victims.
He made no official comment but said something would be coming out for the sake of transparency.
That has not normally been the case, complained community activist Steve Young, who said the names of officers involved in shootings should be released.
The fleeing suspect had a history of arrests dating to 1996 and was arrested in February with a gun, previous reports show.
“He had mental problems or something,” Nimer Nammour said. “We never even have robberies here.”
Issa Nammour said the two surviving employees who were inside at the time of the attack were too distraught to talk about what happened.
There were several witnesses inside the store and on the street, police said.
Six cameras also cover the store inside and out. It did not appear there were any cameras where the suspect was shot. It also was not immediately clear whether the officer’s body camera was recording at the time of the shooting.
Many gathered at the scene said they had arrived after the incident or heard only gunshots.
But some indicated there have been problems between Cedar Market workers and residents.
“They treat little young kids like they’re thieves, disrespect women and treat the men badly,” said Tim Hood, a member of the Peace Keepers who said there had been a boycott and rally in the works.
But Issa Nammour said there aren’t any problems and that he teaches his employees to be respectful to customers because “they are here to serve them.”
“We’ve never even had to call the police,” he said.
This is the first time this year Atlantic City police have fired a weapon in an incident.
Any time a police officer discharges his or her weapon in Atlantic County, the Prosecutor’s Office takes over the investigation.