An illegal immigrant, facing possible deportation, shot and killed an Arizona convenience store clerk Thursday over a pack of cigarettes.
State and local officers arrested Apolinar Altamirano, 29, after a high-speed chase. He has been charged with first-degree murder and is being held on a $1 million bond in the death of Grant Ronnebeck, 21, according to local CBS affiliate KPHO.
Altamirano walked into the Mesa store and requested a pack of cigarettes, according to eyewitnesses and surveillance footage. After some confusion over the brand he wanted, Altamirano eventually pointed to a pack in the display behind the counter.
That’s when the transaction turned into a scene out of a Quentin Tarantino movie. KPHO reported:
Altamirano then dumped a jar of coins onto the counter and Ronnebeck told him he needed to pay for the cigarettes first, the officer said.
Altamirano became agitated and pulled a gun and pointed it at Ronnebeck, who then tried to hand the suspect the pack of cigarettes.
Altamirano said, “You’re not going to give me my cigarettes,” and fired one shot into Ronnebeck.
Altamirano calmly walked behind the counter, over Ronnebeck’s body and grabbed several packs of cigarettes before slowly walking out of the store.
Another customer flagged down an officer and provided descriptions of the suspect and his vehicle that led to the suspect’s arrest later that morning.
This isn’t Altamirano’s first encounter with law enforcement. Two years ago, he pleaded guilty to second degree burglary in a deal that dismissed pending theft and kidnapping charges, KPHO reported. He was sentenced to two years of probation.
Altamirano, a Mexican citizen, “is in the U.S. illegally and was out on bond while U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement determined whether he should be deported,” KPHO reported.
He was also charged with armed robbery, burglary, illegal possession of a weapon, unlawful flight and related offenses — all felonies.
Watch this AZ-Central 12 News report on Ronnebeck’s life before he was gunned down:
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