Video shows killing of Mesa QuikTrip employee over cigarettes

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Apolinar Altamirano, 29 By Mike Gertzman Apolinar Altamirano, 29 By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

PHOENIX (AP) -- A surveillance video that captured the killing of a Phoenix-area convenience store clerk shows the suspect calmly walking behind the counter after pulling the trigger, stepping over the fallen victim and grabbing several packs of Marlboros before slowly exiting.

The chilling depiction was outlined in a court document Friday as a Maricopa County Superior Court judge set bail at $1 million for 29-year-old Apolinar Altamirano in connection with the shooting of the 21-year-old clerk during his overnight shift.

Altamirano was convicted in 2012 on a burglary charge but never went to prison after getting probation.

He was also banned two weeks ago from the Mesa store where the shooting occurred.

Police say the suspect dumped change on the counter from a jar to pay for cigarettes while repeatedly telling clerk Grant Ronnebeck, "You're not gonna give me my cigarettes." Then, the assailant pulled out a gun and repeated the same statement - even as Ronnebeck tried to hand him a pack - before opening fire.

The victim was shot in the face, a prosecutor told the judge at Altamirano's initial court appearance at which the defendant stood with both hands on a lectern, shifting from side to side and giving his name and date of birth when asked by the court.

Altamirano was arrested after a pursuit across much of the Phoenix area that ended with a crash. In arguing against bail, the prosecutor cited the fact that the suspect is in the country illegally and has a criminal record.

Police searched his car after the killing and located a 9-mm handgun, two packs of Marlboros and several casings of ammunition.

A witness who was in the store at the time of the shooting heard the encounter and "saw smoke in the air near the register" following the shooting, according to police. He then flagged down an officer for help.

A memorial for Ronnebeck began to form at the QuikTrip in Mesa where he was killed, and the company issued a statement expressing how it is devastated and heartbroken over the killing.

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