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Tifton man dies after apparent robbery attempt

TIFTON — A man who reportedly confronted a store employee in Tifton was shot and killed Thursday evening when an employee refused to hand over cash, according to a spokesperson for the Tifton Police Department.

According to a release issued by Lt. Lee Dunston with the criminal investigation division of the Tifton Police Department, three officers of the TPD were dispatched to the Funny Fruit Thrift Store at 1424 N. Tift Ave. in reference to an armed robbery.

When the officers reached the store at around 9 p.m., they were told by employees that a tall, heavyset black male had entered the store wearing a “baby blue do-rag” over part of his face, a dark blue shirt and gray pants, the report states. Further, the report stated that the man was carrying what witnesses said resembled a handgun wrapped in cloth.

Witness reports say the intruder confronted a store employee near the back of the business and demanded money. The threatened employee told police he pulled his own handgun and fired at the black male “several times,” police reported.

Witnesses told police the would-be robber then ran from the store, after which they heard the “spinning of tires” in the parking lot. Police officials say the employee’s weapon was secured and later turned over to the detective who initially responded.

Shortly after the thrift store incident, police were dispatched to an auto accident at Old Ocilla Road and East 12th Street, about five blocks from the armed robber scene, officials say, where they found a man matching the robbery suspect’s description with multiple gunshot wounds.

According to police, the driver was identified as Bennie J. Hill of Tifton. Hill was transported to Tift Regional Medical Center and later died of his injuries, official say.

Police officials ask that anyone with information regarding the case call Detective Terry Allen or Detective Jared York at (229) 382-3131.

Assistance in the case was given by The Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the Tift County Sheriff’s Office, Tift County District Attorney’s Office, Tift County EMS, Tifton-Tift County fire Department and the Tift County Coroner’s Office, officials say.