7-Eleven clerk on leave after shooting
BASALT ” The 7-Eleven clerk who may have been the target of a shooting there last week said he was placed on one week’s paid leave of absence Saturday by the Dallas-based corporation.
Bruno Kirchenwitz said he was placed on leave while “some guy from Dallas is going to come down and check it out.”
Kirchenwitz said he has no reason to believe his job is in jeopardy. He noted that he works 32 hours per week at the store and was given 40 hours of pay during the leave.
Margaret Chabris, 7-Eleven spokeswoman, said someone from the company is “probably looking into the situation.” She said there is no standard response after a major incident, like a shooting, at a store. Every case is different, she said.
Kirchenwitz said he was working last Tuesday evening when two Latino males entered the store and asked if he is the guy who wears a “U.S. Border Patrol” baseball hat. He acknowledged he was although he wasn’t wearing it at the time. He said he wears the hat to and from work nearly every day but doesn’t wear it at work.
Kirchenwitz claimed the men threatened him three times within five minutes. At one point they said something like, “We’re going to show you what we think of that hat when we catch you alone,” he said.
The men left the store at about 9:30 p.m. Kirchenwitz finished his shift and left the store at about 10:15 p.m. to catch a bus.
Five rifle shots were fired through the front window of the store at 11:10 p.m. The shots were aimed at the cashier’s counter. A different clerk and four customers were in the store at the time but no one was injured.
No arrests have been made in the case. The Basalt Police Department has questioned one man identified as a “person of interest.” It is attempting to identify and locate a second man.
The incident has been inaccurately described in newspaper articles as a verbal altercation between him and the men, Kirchenwitz said.
He avoided arguing, as he has been trained to do, and even joked with the men before he realized they were serious about the threats, he said.
Police have video from a surveillance camera that shows the two Latino males in the store. Basalt police Chief Keith Ikeda said the man who was questioned was in the U.S. legally, thus he couldn’t be held on immigration charges. The man wouldn’t identify who was with him in the store. Ikeda said police are “close” to finding his identity.
The issue has fanned flames in the debate over illegal immigration. Kirchenwitz said he has received significant support from valley residents who share his opposition to illegal immigration into the U.S.
“People are angry. They are high-fiving me. They’re asking how they can get one of these hats,” he said.