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Crime & Courts

Ellenton store owner wounds gunman in botched robbery


Published:   |   Updated: May 9, 2013 at 04:42 PM

A suspect in the attempted armed robbery of an Ellenton coin store is hospitalized after being shot by the store owner, the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office said.

La’Tay McKelly, 21, of Bradenton, was arrested this afternoon in connection with the failed theft yesterday at Cortez Coins, 3812 U.S. 301 N., in Ellenton, deputies said. McKelly is being charged with attempted murder and attempted armed robbery.

McKelly entered the store about 5 p.m., deputies said, and asked for an appraisal. As Fred Vandergraff worked on the request, McKelly suddenly pulled out a gun and pistol-whipped the owner on the head, deputies said.

As Vandergraff staggered backward, McKelly pointed the gun at him and pulled the trigger at least three times, but the weapon did not fire, deputies said.

Vandergraff retrieved his weapon from behind the counter and fired once as McKelly turned to flee, deputies said.

The shop owner suffered a laceration to the top of his head and received treatment on scene. 

Nothing was stolen from the store, deputies said.

McKelly is being treated at a local hospital for a gunshot wound but the injury is not life threatening, the sheriff’s office said. He will be booked into the Manatee County Jail once he is released.

Detectives said they received information on McKelly shortly after surveillance photos were released this morning.

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