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Alabama: Three dead during the robbery of a Hispanic store in Montgomery

The crime is the latest in a series of thefts against several Latino businesses in recent months in the town.

Captura de pantalla de una imagen ofrecida por Google Maps de la Tienda Los Hermanos, situada en Montgomery, Alabama. El negocio fue víctima de uno de los ataques contra negocios hispanos en junio de 2024.

(Google Maps)

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A robbery against the Hispanic store Los Hermanos in Montgomery, Alabama, ended in tragedy this Tuesday with three people dead. According to Montgomery Police, officers responded to a call reporting several shots fired around 9 p.m. Upon arrival, they found two people dead and transported a third victim who was pronounced dead upon arrival at the hospital.

Later, during a press conference, Interim Montgomery Police Chief John Hall identified the victims as George Elijah, Jr., 50; Daniel López, 20; and Romero López, 43.

The city's mayor, Steven Reed, also attended the press conference. He assured that the crime is the last in a series of thefts that the city has experienced against Latino businesses and stated, in statements collected by NBC News, that two of the shooting victims were family members while the third person was there "just to make small purchases" and visit store employees.

Montgomery mayor concerned about rising crime

These thefts are especially worrying to the first mayor who, in statements reported by WSFA, urged the members of the municipal council to support him and give their approval to the proposal he will present for 6 million dollars:

That’s something that’s, in my mind, inexcusable for people to try to target a group who are trying to work to improve their lives and that of their family by people who are coming to steal and take their money. It’s something that we will not accept. It’s something that we will not tolerate. We will make sure that what took place last night on Troy Highway does not happen again. We’ll make sure that those who are behind this are held accountable and are brought to justice.

The $6 million, Steven Reed detailed, will be used to create a community intervention program to address crime in the city and, especially, to protect the Hispanic community:

We want the public to know, in particular those in our Latino and Hispanic communities to understand that we see you, we hear you, and we’re not going to stand for this. We’re not going to stand for people to be hunted because people think they’re an easy target or they’re easy prey. There are people who believe those who may not speak English as a first language are easy targets and that’s the most sickening part of this. So I know there is more we can do. We are looking at what other cities have done to address this issue as well.

According to what Councilman Orende Mitchell told Washington Hispanic, it is believed that criminals prefer Hispanic stores since they believe that customers choose to pay in cash instead of using debit cards or other electronic transactions.

Hispanic businesses, favorite target for robberies

An example of a Hispanic store attacked is precisely the business where the shooting occurred, Los Hermanos. Its owner, Maribel López, assured that both her brother and nephew were two of the victims and that, unfortunately, it was not the first time they had experienced an assault. In total, she stated, in recent months the store had been attacked up to six times:

I don’t know how to feel. I can’t think about nothing right now. We need to speak up. Everybody needs to speak up, and they need to let the city know that we’re here and we need to take care of each other and we need to get their attention so that they can start working on it.

This is not the only case. The American network WSFA recalls that, at the end of May, an ice cream parlor on Bell Road, also Hispanic-owned, claimed that it had experienced its second robbery in two months.

Another case occurred outside a Mexican restaurant on Malcolm Drive. A man, who is recovering from his injuries, refused to give money to several robbers who attacked him when he left the establishment. As in the ice cream parlor, it is not the first assault that the restaurant has experienced. According to its owner, a few weeks ago a suspect pointed a knife at his wife and fled with the cash register.