LOOKING FOR JUSTICEPublished 6:10pm Monday, November 25, 2013
Lawmen search for robber, murderer
The Pike County Sheriff’s Office is searching for the person or people who gunned down a convenience store clerk in Spring Hill Saturday night.
Mike Mills, 51, of Troy, was working at the Hill Mart when someone came in the store, shot mills and took the store’s cash register, according to Pike County Sheriff Russell Thomas.
“We are asking for the public’s help,” Thomas said. “Somebody out there knows who did this. They need to do the right thing, the human thing, the decent thing and come forward.”
Thomas said, based on phone conversations Mills had Saturday night, investigators believe the shooting took place between 7:40 p.m. and 8 p.m., the time Mills was found by a customer.
Thomas said investigators are interested in speaking with anyone who may have driven by the store at that time, or anyone who was a customer at the store between 7 and 8 p.m.
“This man worked two jobs to provide for his family and someone went in and just randomly took his life,” Thomas said, noting he didn’t believe Mills had been targeted. “There was no one else at the store and someone saw an opportunity for a crime with only one witness.”
Mills was found after a customer stopped to get gas at Hill Mart Saturday night about 8 p.m. When she went to pay, she noticed items strewn about the store and called 911. A nearby deputy responded within about a minute, according to Thomas. However, Mills was already dead.
The Pike County Sheriff’s Office is offering a $2,500 reward for any information that leads to an arrest and conviction in this case. Thomas said he anticipates Gov. Robert Bentley’s office to add to that reward, soon.
The Troy Police Department is investigating a separate incident where burglars at Kelly’s Food Mart in Troy also took a cash register from that crime scene on Nov. 16. Thomas said the Sheriff’s Office is communicating with TPD, as well as other agencies in the area that may have experienced similar crimes, but it’s hard to say whether or not a person committing burglaries would escalate their crimes into robbery and murder.
“You never rule anything out when the case is open and pending. You never know when one crime can lead to another,” Thomas said.
This isn’t the first time a robbery occurred at Hill Mart, Thomas recalled. In 2008, there was an armed robbery at the location where four people were ultimately arrested for the crime.
Thomas said he encourages any convenience store clerks to keep a watchful eye and use caution at all times because the person who killed Mills has not been caught.
“Most law enforcement agencies do also see a crime spike at this time of the holiday season,” Thomas said. “We all need to be vigilant.”
The Pike County Sheriff’s Office, the District Attorney’s Office, Pike County Coroner and the Alabama Department of Forensic Science are working together to solve this crime.