When Raymond Martin walked into a Greenwood tobacco store last week, the man who was about to rob the store at gunpoint held the door open for him.
Martin figured he man was simply being polite. But when Martin got to the counter at Greenwood Discount Tobacco, he turned around to see that the man was holding a handgun.
A couple seconds passed before the severity of the situation hit him.
“It didn’t click,” Martin said. “I had to do a second look back. I thought, ‘This can’t be real.’”
The robber pointed the handgun at Martin’s head and told him to get on the ground. Martin didn’t respond at first, and the man yelled at him again before shoving him to the floor.
Police said Jameson McCarthy, 25, of Indianapolis, held three men — a clerk and two customers — at gunpoint inside the store for several minutes on June 22 as he grabbed cash and cartons of cigarettes. He then fled in a customer’s van, which he later crashed when he hit a truck at the intersection of U.S. 31 and Fry Road. He crawled out of the van and stood on the roof of the vehicle before being tased by an officer and arrested. McCarthy is now being held in the Marion County jail on a warrant for an armed robbery charge there. The Johnson County Prosecutor’s Office has filed charges of robbery resulting in serious bodily injury, robbery taking property by force or threatening force while armed, resisting law enforcement with a motor vehicle, unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon and criminal confinement.
Both customers — Martin and Thomas Winkler — said they were afraid for their lives, but made sure to do what McCarthy asked so that they could make it out of the situation alive. Neither man was harmed, but the clerk, Pinakin Kansara, wasn’t as fortunate, according a Greenwood Police Department report.
Kansara was pistol whipped by McCarthy during the robbery. He was knocked unconscious, suffered injuries to his eyes, was in extreme pain and had trouble recalling some of the details of the robbery, the report said. Kansara was taken to Community Hospital South for treatment, but no information about his condition was available from the hospital.
This wasn’t the first time Kansara has been robbed. In December 2015, an armed robber entered the tobacco store and demanded money, a Greenwood Police Department report said. Kansara refused to give the robber any money at first and urged him to leave the store, before complying with the man’s request and placing several bills into a plastic bag for him, the report said.
Why McCarthy attacked Kansara isn’t clear.
After entering the store, McCarthy kept saying that everyone was going to die, including himself. He yelled at Kansara to get the money from the cash register and became upset when there wasn’t as much money as he wanted, Martin said.
When McCarthy complained about the amount of money in the cash register, Kansara told the robber the reason was that most people used cards now, not cash, Martin said.
“He got mad, started knocking over the scratch-off ticket holder, started hitting things, tore the clerk’s shirt,” Martin said.
McCarthy demanded that the clerk get money from the safe, which the clerk said he wasn’t able to do, Martin said.
Instead, McCarthy ordered Martin to fill a bag with cigarette cartons.
“When I was filling the cartons, he tried to get the keys to my truck,” Martin said. “I didn’t have them on me. He ended up taking the older gentleman’s keys.”
Winkler gave up his keys without a fight.
“There was nothing I could do,” he said. “He told me he was taking the van. He had a pistol. There was no way I was going to tell him no.”
McCarthy then ordered Martin to go outside and start Winkler’s vehicle. With McCarthy’s gun pointed at him, Martin said he didn’t have any choice other than to obey, but he used the opportunity to call for help.
“When I got out of the store, there was a guy walking up about to walk in,” Martin said. “I told him to run and call the cops.”
McCarthy ordered Martin to come back inside after he had started the van. He found Kansara in the middle of the store, covered in blood. McCarthy grabbed Kansara and took him to the back office and told him to disable the video recording system before beginning to smash some of the equipment himself, Martin said.
Before leaving the store, McCarthy announced that he wasn’t going to kill them, saying, “I’ll let you guys go. I’m a nice guy. I wouldn’t normally do this,” Martin said.
The second McCarthy was out the door, Martin said he pulled his phone out to call 911. Officers were driving past the store in search of the van no more than a minute later, he said.
Winkler said he was grateful for the quick response from police.
“I know they were there within just a couple minutes of him leaving,” he said. “They did a fine job.”
For Winkler, this was the second time he had been a customer at a store during an armed robbery. The first time took place about five decades ago in Indianapolis when he was a teenager.
The only thing to do was stay calm, do as the robber asked and hope that he wouldn’t get shot, Winkler said.