BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. - Palm Bay officials said one of their officers had no choice but to shoot a masked robber who put a gun to a pharmacist's back inside a Malabar Road Walgreens.
Customers were inside the Malabar Road store and called 911 when they saw the robbery go down just after 11 p.m. Tuesday night.
Investigators said Kenneth Kirwan, 20, took off with prescription pills, cigarettes and cash after he forced the pharmacist behind the counter. As he worked to open the register, the robber put a gun to the pharmacist's neck.
Kirwan is still in the hospital in critical condition Wednesday night.
Kenyetta Booker was getting a prescription filled when Kirwan walked in. She heard the alleged robber's demands.
"All I kept thinking about was just making it to that front door," Booker said.
Booker said the cashier's face was "white like a ghost" and heard the cashier tell the pharmacist the robber wanted oxycodone.
Police said the robbery was still in progress when they got on scene and Kirwan tried to run.
Police said he almost made it to the other side of the street before being shot.
Yvonne Martinez of the Palm Bay police said the department is still trying to determine if Kirwan raised his gun at Officer Josh Taylor. She said the Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating.
"We're still trying to collect all of the witness statements," Martinez said.
Crime scene technicians counted the money Kirwan almost got away with and said this is his first run-in with the law.
Taylor is on administrative leave while FDLE investigates, which is standard protocol for any officer-involved shooting.
Taylor has been with the department since 2002 and has been an active member of the SWAT team since 2004.