Police: Dollar General killer had accomplice outside

Dallas police now believe the man who shot dead a Dollar General clerk had an accomplice.

Gabrielle Simmons, a mother of six, was killed during a robbery on Monday night in Dallas. New footage now has authorities convinced a second person was outside to act as a lookout.

UPDATE: 15-year-old arrested in shooting death of Dollar General clerk

“A good eye and what we saw was this individual ran ahead of the suspect,” said DPD Det. Scott Sayers.

A camera caught both men in a full sprint down a side street after the shooting. The accomplice was wearing shorts and a winter-style hat.

“He’s a thin build. He could be black, he could be white, he could be Hispanic. It’s night vision camera,” Sayers said.

Police also believe that the robber wound up leaving the money behind.

“She cooperated fully. She never did a thing to cause the suspect to shoot her,” Sayers said.

Video shows Gabrielle's left hand as if she's pleading with him not to hurt her. Police said the gunman shot her, grabbed the till and ran out -- but not before she was able to hit the alarm.        

“As soon as the alarm goes off, the doors shut automatically. So he bursts through these doors and drops the till and the bag that he came with,” Sayers said. “So he never got anything.”

Sayers and patrol officers spent Tuesday working East Oak Cliff.

“The guys that I talked to … they normally wouldn’t talk to cops,” Sayers said.

Police were able to use some of that information to find some items the main suspect was wearing the night of the crime, including gloves and jeans.

“We found them in an alley,” Sayers said.

The detective said he wants the shooter to know he knows what happened on Monday.

“I believe from the video that when he grabbed the till he had his finger on the trigger and the gun went off,” Sayers said. “Now you know he still killed her and he’s got to answer for that, but I want the individual to know that I understand that.”

The Dollar General remains closed as police investigate. It's unclear when the store will open back up, but some employees have said possibly Friday.

In the meantime, there has been an outpouring of community support for Gabrielle's widow and six children as they get through this tragedy.

“Hopefully her death will not go in vain, and something good can come out of something bad that happened,” said friend Jenin Ferrond.

Christopher Simmons lives in Gabrielle’s hometown of McComb, Mississippi. He says his sister and her fiancé moved their kids to Dallas for a better life just over a year ago. Sadly, it didn't turn out as planned.

“She loved me to death,” Christopher said. “Family is what she believed in. She did anything for her family and just tragedy struck.”

Christopher says despite having been robbed at that same Dollar General once before, Gabrielle was determined to go back to work to provide for her family.

Gabrielle’s brother says Simmons was excited about the recent engagement to her longtime boyfriend, Aris Joseph, who is also the father of the couple's six children. Joseph spoke to FOX4 Tuesday night at a vigil outside the store.

“Everything that she done she done for her kids,” her brother said. “And she went back to her job to get stuff for her kids for Christmas.”

Christopher calls the unidentified man who shot and killed her sister a complete coward. He hopes the gunman is suffering from a guilty conscience and that the intense public scrutiny will lead to his arrest.

“You took six kids from their mother for a little bit of cash. Everything you ask she give you. The whole cash register and you still just cowardly took her life. I mean that was uncalled for,” Christopher said. “I hope your conscience is eating you up. I hope you turn yourself in. I hope somebody knows you that turns you in because what you did wasn't right. Now, you got families hurting and people who don't even know her hurting. It's terrible.”

Phone calls have been pouring into Simmons’ family and friends asking how to help her fiancé and six children who are now motherless.

“How can they help, what can they bring, what's the sizes, how many girls, how many boys,” said friend Pat Ford.

Simmons' friends, along with pastor Nickie Chance, are coordinating donation efforts and hope to soon be able to provide basic supplies to a family that now only has one income to support them. 

“It was senseless,” Chance said. “You have a young mother trying to work and take care of her six kids. And you have this fool that's too sorry to work and take a life.”

Her friends now hope her death starts a movement and positive change.

“This, unfortunately, is what it took to open the eyes of so many who were blind to what was going on here,” Ferrond said. “And now that their eyes are open, hopefully they can do something to turn this sad, sad occasion into a very happy, happy ending.”

Friends say Gabrielle’ fiancé is already back at work trying to support his six kids, ranging from 11 years old to as young as 7 months old.

Donations for the family can be dropped off at Ford’s office in the Rosemont at Oak Hollow Apartments (3015 East Ledbetter in Dallas) or Christ Memorial Missionary Baptist Church (539 East Overton in Dallas). A GoFundMe account has also been set up.

A $25,000 reward is now being offered for information leading to the killer’s arrest. Dollar General recently contributed a $10,000 reward offer along with Oaks Farm Dairy’s $10,000 reward and Crime Stoppers’ $5,000 reward. Anyone with information is urged to call Dallas police at 214-671-3647 or Crime Stoppers at 214-373-8477.

 

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