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Customer shoots robbery suspect at Subway sandwich shop in Ukiah

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A customer at a Ukiah Subway sandwich shop shot a man fleeing the store after attempting to rob the restaurant with a realistic toy gun Wednesday evening, authorities and a Subway employee said.

Store manager Alejandro Melo said the suspect entered the store, located in the Pear Tree Center in North Ukiah, and asked to use the bathroom. When he came out, he saw Melo washing dishes and pulled what appeared to be a gun, demanding Melo come with him.

“He walked me out for like 2 meters, walking to the lobby, and that’s where he starts asking for the money,” Melo said. He demanded money from an employee standing near the cash register, but Melo told him she didn’t have the key and that he would get the money himself. Melo gave the man a bag with about $200.

“I just gave him the change bag,” he said. “I had the key for the security box, but I didn’t want to give him that one because it was farther.”

As the man fled the store, a customer drew a handgun and shot him three times from behind, striking him in the buttocks, Melo said. The man dropped the money bag and ran to a Ross store in the same shopping center and collapsed, he said.

“He lay down there and people started screaming,” he said.

Ukiah Police Lt. Cedric Crook said the unidentified man was transported to an undisclosed hospital, where he was listed in critical but stable condition on Thursday afternoon.

Crook said officers found the cash and the suspect’s weapon, which was actually a BB gun designed to look like a handgun.

The customer, who was not identified by police, had a permit to carry a concealed weapon. He was “fully cooperative” with officers and agreed to come to police headquarters to give a detailed statement, Crook said.

Anyone with information on the shooting is asked to call the Ukiah Police Department at 707-463-6262.

You can reach Staff Writer Bill Swindell at 707-521-5223 or bill.swindell@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @BillSwindell. You can reach Staff Writer Andrew Beale at 707-521-5205 or andrew.beale@pressdemocrat.com. Twitter @iambeale.

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