Store worker reveals robbery suspect killed in shootout involving deputy


Knife theft forces a Lee County Sheriff’s Deputy to shoot a suspect. A clerk at the store the suspect tried to rob told WINK News about the dangerous situation and what they are doing now.

On Sunday, a fatal shooting involving a member of Parliament began with a robbery at the Estero Food Mart. It was scary for Johnathan Bartolan who has only been working here for a month.

“It scares me, honestly,” Bartolan said.

An employee told LCSO that Joshua Hammock, 30, escaped the supermarket with a pack of 12 beers. Before stealing the beer, he threatened the same employee with a knife.

Joshua Hammock, 30 Credit: Lee County Sheriff’s Office

“You never know what’s going to happen here,” Bartolan said.

After taking the beer, he banged on a customer’s car door with what is believed to be the same knife he threatened the clerk with.

Rich Kolko is the Safety and Security Specialist at WINK News. “I probably wanted their car. Get out of there. If someone knocks on your car window with a knife, get out of there, ”Kolko said.

Fortunately, the driver sped off. This is something Kolko says is “smart” in a dangerous situation like this.

“The police are looking for good witnesses, not heroes. If you can provide a good description of the person, what type of weapon they were carrying, what clothes they were carrying, this is much more helpful to the police than trying to intervene and stop the person. Kolko said.

MPs say Hammock also stole a 7-Eleven. They were able to find him not far from this store after the robbery. It was then that he charged the police with a knife. So they fired guns at Hammock, killing him.

“If a person comes to like, two places with bad intentions and likes, what do you think is the possible result of that …” Bartolan said.

Johnathan Bartolan is keeping his custody now after what happened this weekend. “You know, if it happens once, you know it can definitely happen again,” Bartolan said.

Joshua Hammock has a long criminal history. Lee County MPs say it stretches across Citrus, Pinellas, Hillsborough and St. Johns counties. Hammock was also arrested in January 2021 for assaulting a law enforcement officer and a pre-trial diversion plan has been put in place for this purpose.