An Atlantic City deli and convenience store manager was caught in the middle of a standoff Wednesday afternoon when two men in their early thirties came into his store and took him hostage, police said.
Mohammad Rahman, the manager of Jackie’s Deli and Convenience Store on Fairmount Avenue, said at first, he thought the two men were just customers.
Then 33-year-old Paul Boyd and 31-year-old Edmund McCleary allegedly locked the door, revealed a gun, and took Rahman hostage.
“He pulled his gun and said don’t move,” said Rahman. They “punched on the right side of my eyes…punched me on the head too…and tied me up."
Luckily Rahman was able to press the panic button before they forced him into the back room of the store, he said.
Surveillance video showed the two suspects appearing to use store merchandise, including drinking soda, smoking cigarettes and putting on T-shirts the store was selling.
Rahman’s neighbor, Samir Malik, recorded the standoff with a camcorder from his apartment window while the Sovereign Avenue School across the street initiated a lock-down to protect its students.
Once police arrived, the situation reportedly went smoothly. Sgt. Rodney Ruark of the Atlantic City Police Department was able to get one of the suspects on the phone. In trying to convince the men to surrender, Ruark said he informed the suspect on the phone that the school had been locked down.
“I used that to my advantage, telling him, ‘Listen, we want to get these kids out of there and back to their parents.’ He was very understanding about that and agreed, so that sped up the process,” explained Ruark.
After nearly an hour, both suspects came out of the store with their hands up and were quickly handcuffed.
Rahman and Ruark were happy about the outcome of the standoff.
“It went perfectly in our eyes. Textbook operation,” said Ruark
“The ending, yeah, yeah, I was happy about that,” Rahman said.
Both Boyd and McCleary were locked up in Atlantic County jail. They have been charged with numerous offenses including armed robbery and criminal restraint.
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