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Gulfport police have suspect in Joy Food Mart shooting

Gulfport police say they have identified a suspect in the armed robbery and shooting of two clerks at Joy Food Mart in December.

The suspect, whom Lt. Robert Vincent would not name until he is charged, is already booked in the Pinellas County Jail on other charges. He is believed to have been the gunman in the Dec. 22 robbery and shooting, Vincent said.

Three young men robbed Joy Food Mart, shooting clerks Thanh Hoang, 43, and Tien Tran, 25, in the process. Hoang's three sons, ages 8, 10, and 11, were inside the store and witnessed the shootings. They called 911 after the robbers left.

Vincent said a gun that has been linked to the suspect is in evidence. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is testing it to see if the bullets match those found in the victims, Vincent said. If they match, police may have enough evidence to charge the suspect.

Vincent said police are still working to identify the two other young men in the robbery.

Vincent said police are also investigating the three teens arrested in Monday's armed robbery and shooting of a police officer at the Suncoast Exxon in St. Petersburg to see if they are connected to any unsolved armed robberies in Gulfport.

"Every convenience store robbery is a potential lead for us," he said.

Gulfport police have suspect in Joy Food Mart shooting 01/29/09 [Last modified: Thursday, January 29, 2009 12:32am]
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