A man pulled a gun on shoppers at a Morrisons store in Solihull, West Midland. Customers were heard shouting ‘is this real’ and ‘what’s going on’ as the suspect brandished the weapon.
Police investigating the incident said the man was committing a robbery in broad daylight in the city centre. The suspect was being chased from Morrisons when he ‘stopped, pulled out a gun and pointed it at everyone’ outside the store on Saturday afternoon (March 5), Reporting live from Birmingham.
Shaken mother Christine Thorpe found herself ‘staring down the barrel’ as the shooter had it just three meters away from her around 4.45pm. The 66-year-old stood ‘frozen in fear’ as other panicked customers at the George Road store shouted ‘is this real’ and ‘what’s going on here’.
Armed police were dispatched to the scene after the force received reports of a shoplifter attempting to rob three stores “in quick succession”. The suspect also demanded money from F.Hinds Jewelers and Robert Dyas – as well as the supermarket.
He managed to take a small amount of cash from a crate of Robert Dyas during the series of incidents between 4.30pm and 5pm, police said.
Too shaken to speak after the ordeal, Christine’s son Kane Platt said BirminghamLive “This guy went to Morrisons, got chased, then turned around and pulled a gun on everyone.
“He ran past [my mum], hunting safety, he then stopped, turned around and took out the gun. He was probably about three to five meters away.
“Everyone was outside, he pulled it out, both hands on it and pointed it at everyone and was screaming. He was just holding it and pointing it at them, anger on his face.
“If someone walks past you a gun is out you assume the worst could happen. She was frozen in fear so she wasn’t really thinking at the time, just trying to register what happened.
“It was probably about ten seconds and everyone was like ‘what’s going on here’, people were yelling ‘is this real’ and security had to try and pounce on him and then he just ran.”
The gun was described as a black gun, which looked real as Christine “stared down the barrel”.
He continued, “It didn’t have a red tip like some of the BB guns. It also looked real,” she thought, looking down the barrel.
“He obviously had to bail on it, put it away and was chased away by security. He fled through the parking lot.”
Christine, who was doing her weekly shopping at the time, then called her son to check he was on his way – and when he arrived the shooter had already fled the scene.
“She’s trying to play it down, but she’s pretty shaken up by it. She’s been shaken up. She’s in shock,” he added.
“My mum said he looked really weird and she got a really weird feeling from him walking past. He was really nervous and quite strange.”
West Midlands Police said no arrests have yet been made and officers are reviewing CCTV today as part of the investigation. Anyone with information has been urged to contact the force as soon as possible as the hunt continues.
A West Midlands Police statement read: “We were called to Solihull town center yesterday afternoon (March 5) after a shoplifter attempted to rob three shops in quick succession.
“The suspect, armed with what appeared to be a pistol, demanded money from F. Hinds Jewelers, Morrisons and Robert Dyas. He managed to take a small amount of cash from a cash register at Robert Dyas. Nothing happened. was taken from the other two stores The incidents all occurred between 4:30 and 5:00 p.m.
“Armed officers were immediately dispatched but no arrests have been made. We are reviewing CCTV today as part of ongoing investigations.
“If you were there, or have any other information that could help us, please send us a message via live chat on our website. www.west-midlands.police.uk or call us on 101.
“If you want to remain 100% anonymous, call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. Tell them what you know, not who you are. Crime number 20 / 274931 / 22 .”
BirminghamLive has contacted Morrisons for comment on the incident.