By Michelle Graff
michelle.graff@nationaljeweler.com
Omaha, Neb.--Police have arrested an 18-year-old man whom they suspect shot and killed a jewelry store owner during a robbery attempt at his store on Wednesday.

Jeweler James Minshall Sr., the 71-year-old owner of JR’s Jewelry & Gifts in Omaha, died of his injuries shortly after the shooting Wednesday afternoon. 

On Thursday, Omaha police arrested and booked Milton B. Dortch on suspicion of first-degree murder, suspicion of robbery and use of a weapon to commit a felony at the jewelry store, Omaha.com reported. Omaha police did not respond to request for comment on the case.

Dortch already was being sought for an earlier robbery at the time of the crime.

JR Jewelry store employees told local media that the robbery was botched. There was a customer and a few other employees in the store Wednesday when the thief walked in, threw a bag on the floor, brandished a gun and ordered the employees to put jewelry in the bag.

According to reports, while one employee began to fill the bag with goods, Minshall made a move toward the safe. That is when the suspect allegedly fired three shots toward him, striking him twice in the torso. The robber then ran out of the store, without the bag or any jewelry. 

An employee of a nearby store said he saw a man run from the jewelry store, hop a fence and continue running, all before police arrived. 

John Kennedy of the Jewelers’ Security Alliance, which issued a crime alert on the Nebraska shooting hours before the suspect was arrested, provided National Jeweler with tips for dealing with this kind of a situation. 

--Obey the orders of the robber. Do not say or do anything, or even raise your hands, unless told to do so. Cooperate fully and try not to panic.

--Do not attempt to disarm the robber or reach for a concealed weapon. Assume that the robber will shoot without hesitation.

--Never do or say anything that would anger the robber. For example, do not stare at him and have him think that you are trying to memorize his facial characteristics.

--The less time the robbers are in the store, the less risk there is of injury. Once the robbers have your merchandise, they can be expected to leave quickly.

--Do not press a holdup alarm, if your store has one, until the robbers have left and you have locked the door. If the police arrive while the robbers are still in the store, or if the robbers return, a deadly hostage situation could develop.

--Expect to be threatened. One of the robber’s weapons is the fear he creates, commonly saying “I’ll kill you if you make a move.” This is a typical threat; expect it and keep calm.

--Except to be tied up or handcuffed, and do as you’re told. Frequently the robber will force the jeweler and his staff to a back room or washroom and tell them to lie on the floor. 

--If you are out of the robber’s sight, in a back room or elsewhere, stay where you are. Do not intrude on the crime scene.

--Do not chase or follow the robbers out of the store.

--It is important to rehearse with all employees what they should do in a robbery. Being prepared may help prevent an employee from panicking and provoking violence.

“Even if a jeweler follows all the rules to discourage robberies, the jeweler may still be a robbery target. JSA’s main advice if you do have a robbery is this: do not resist, and cooperate fully,” the organization said.  





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