Suspected robber shot by victim in Lawrence strip mall

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LAWRENCE, Ind. – A suspected robber is now in the hospital after police say he hopped into the wrong car.

Around 8 a.m. Thursday, police say a man was sitting in his car in a shopping center at 42nd and Franklin when another man got in, showed a gun and demanded money. The victim informed the robber that he had none, so the robber instructed him to drive to a Chase Bank branch within the shopping center.

At the time, an armored vehicle was stocking the branch’s ATMs, so the victim attempted to steer towards it hoping to find help. When the robber told the victim to avoid the truck, a fight broke out.

“The robbery victim grabbed his gun and they started fighting in the vehicle in very close quarters over that gun,” Lawrence police Deputy Chief Gary Woodruff said.

Derrick Hart

During the struggle, police say the car crashed into a nearby fence. Both men then exited the car.

“Unbeknownst to the robbery suspect, the victim had his own firearm and so they engaged in an exchange of gunfire,” Woodruff said.

Woodruff said the suspected robber, identified by police as 18-year-old Derrick Hart, was shot twice. The victim of the intended robbery was also shot but is now home recovering.

At the time of the gunfight, Lawrence police officers happened to be down the street. Officers then immediately responded to the shooting.

“They hear the gunfire and immediately respond, and they’re able to stabilize the situation and make an almost immediate apprehension of the suspect,” Woodruff said.

Hart is now facing charges including armed robbery, aggravated battery and criminal confinement. Police say he already had a previous warrant for his arrest stemming from an unrelated robbery. As of Thursday evening, Hart was in the hospital listed in serious but stable condition.

“We’re just thankful it wasn’t worse, we’re thankful there was no loss of life, and thankful that there weren’t any other people directly impacted as a result of this incident for sure,” Woodruff said.

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