ST. PAUL (WCCO) — St. Paul Police investigators are asking for the public’s help to identify a man accused of assaulting a store clerk during an attempted armed robbery.

Police say the incident occurred at 10 p.m. on June 8 at the AA Avenue Grocery, 682 Selby Ave. The clerk, Hakim Benyhai, was locking the door for the night when a man wearing a mask forced open the door and ran into the business.

The man displayed a handgun, demanded money and chased Benyhai toward the back of the store, according to police.

“When I turned back I saw his gun and I thought, no way is he going to kill me. I’m going to fight with him,” Benyhai said.

The man then began assaulting Benyhai as the two fought over the handgun. While the two were fighting, Benyhai pulled off the man’s mask, hoping to expose his face to surveillance cameras, and was able to grab a can of tuna from the shelf and strike the man on the head.

“I tried to take the gun from him and I was hurting him with this,” Benyhai said, holding the can of tuna.

The man continued to punch Benyhai as the two moved toward the front of the store, where Benyhai finally forced the man out. He locked the front door and immediately called police.

“Generally we tell people to comply with the robber’s wishes, but in this case, as we can see in the video, this was a sudden attack,” said Officer John Keating of the St. Paul Police.

Benyhai had cuts and scrapes to his head, hands and knees but did not require medical attention.

Benyhai has been a store clerk at the grocery store for five years.

The robber is described as a black man, 18-20 years old, between 5-foot-7 and 5-foot-9, with a medium build with short, curly hair. He was wearing a black jacket or sweatshirt with a hood, blue jeans and a black mask.

The incident was captured on surveillance video which can be viewed at the St. Paul Police’s website.

“As the video shows, we need to find this person so he doesn’t have the opportunity to do this again,” Keating said.

Anyone with information about this case is asked to call the St. Paul Police Robbery/Homicide Unit at 651-266-5650.

Comments (12)
  1. JamieinMN says:

    That young man is lucky it turned out the way it did. BRAVO! I hope they catch that little punk.

  2. keel says:

    The crook is obviously anticipating a State welfare program shutdown. He’s being proactive.

  3. me says:

    I am confused, it’s not a white criminal?

    1. Mike says:

      Did you watch the video or were the holes in your pointed hood obscuring your vision?

      PS. Their is another story in the news regarding a 17 yr. old white kid from the suburbs who went on a killing spree in Iowa killing two clerks. You would know that if you weren’t so busy with your big broad brush here……….

      1. Mike the Sucker says:

        Symaphetic Liberal Embracer of all things diverse..(naive & soon-to-be a victim)

        1. Mike says:

          MIke the Sucker

          Smaphetic? Knuckle dragging, KKK supporting moron.

          1. Illiterate Mike says:

            Can’t even spell the simplest of must be black

            1. me again says:

              HAHAHAHAHA I love it…

              By the way, yes I did know about that kid. Eye for an eye.
              Maybe if the liberals would encourage more harsh penalties – say, death penalty, people would think twice before carrying out a crime!

              Liberal losers with no common sense.

  4. Tim Dolan says:

    Crime Apes will kill anyone for a Basketball jersey..As long as it’s an XXXL.

  5. Jay says:

    Hope the cops got the ski mask–DNA may be on it… the guy may not get caught right away, but if he is so brazen to try again and gets caught, hes done!!

  6. matman72 says:

    the police dont want you to fight back because if you do your cutting in on their racket. i say stand up fight back when we take back our streets and stores these wanna be thugs will go someplace else. they count on people just giving them money or what ever it is they want. fight back stand up do what ever it takes to beat the thugs at their game

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