A Lexington liquor store reopened Thursday after a man stormed into the store on Georgetown Street, grabbed a gun from behind the counter, leading to a seven-hour standoff with police that ended with the man’s surrender about 6 a.m.
“We were here at 7,” Alicia O’Neil, the wife of Corner Liquor Store’s owner, said as customers trickled in and out.“We have trucks that come from Louisville.”
The standoff started about 10:30 p.m. Wednesday. Police saidTimothy W. Caldwell, 28, barricaded himself in the store at Newtown Pike and Georgetown Street.
Police spokeswoman Brenna Angel said officers spotted a reported stolen car and tried to pull it over when the driver got out of the car and headed into the store.
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Employee Rasheed Shequelle said a couple of employees tried to prevent the man from coming in by blocking a door, but it didn’t work. O’Neil said the man jumped over the counter and grabbed one of the guns that are kept at the store, prompting the standoff.
“Before we knew it, he pulled out a pistol from somewhere, so we bailed and hid,” Shequelle said.
Angel confirmed that the man was armed, but she couldn’t say whether he was armed before entering the store.
Two clerks were stuck in the store after everyone else fled. One was able to get out through a back door a short time after the man charged in, police Lt. Clay Combs said. The other hid in the store’s cooler for nearly two hours.
Shequelle said the clerk in the cooler turned up the thermostat. “That’s pretty good thinking.”
O’Neil said the man let the clerk out as soon as he found him.
“The guy opened the door to get a beer or whatever,” she said.
The clerk was fine physically, Shequelle said. Asked if the clerk was doing OK mentally, she said, “He probably isn’t fine like that, no.”
The employees said the store was a mess after the standoff ended. Shequelle said the gunman apparently drank Jägermeister liqueur and Hennessy cognac.
“He was just in here eating, smoking, eating candy, freaking out, you know?” O’Neil said.
O’Neil said police told her that the man was from out of town and had entered the store after evading police in a stolen car. She said the only other incident at the storealso involved an out-of-towner.
“We never have trouble from our locals,” she said.
Caldwell was being held in the Fayette County jail. Charges against him include wanton endangerment, burglary, fleeing/evading police, possession of a handgun by a felon, reckless driving and violating parole.