Police: Man robs Punta Gorda store, shoots at officers

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Terry Lanoris Smith

PUNTA GORDA, Fla. – A 20-year-old man was arrested and charged with robbing a convenience store Thursday night, then shooting at police during a manhunt early Friday morning, Punta Gorda police said.

Terry Lanoris Smith, of 19805 Midway Blvd., is charged with robbery with a firearm, battery by intentional touch or strike, aggravated assault with intent to commit a felony and possession of firearm ammunition or weapon by Florida convicted felon. Smith remained in the Charlotte County jail Friday under no bond.

Smith is accused of robbing Tom’s Discount Mini Mart, 618 Cooper St., at about 7:17 p.m. Thursday. Smith fired one shot into a wall during the robbery, authorities said.

“He fired a bullet and slammed the door of my office, I was in the office,” said store owner Tahir Shriteh. “We gave him the money from the two cash registers.”

About $2,000 was taken from the store, said Shriteh, who added that he initially thought the robbery was a joke.

“We know him, we know his family,” said Shriteh, who added that Smith grew up in the area. “It’s surprising that in the end what he had done. It was very suprising and frustrating. I was disappointed.”

About 10 hours later, Punta Gorda police and the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office responded to a residence near Mary and Helen streets. Shots were fired by an “unknown subject” as officers approached the backyard, authorities said. Investigators later determined it was Smith who fired at them, Punta Gorda police said.

“It was like a parade of cops and they blocked the roads and the sheriffs with their guns drawn just directing everyone,” says Denise Bard, who lives in the area. “It was definitely a little nerve raking. We definitely wanted to stay inside find out what’s going on.”

Authorities responded to the neighborhood after reports of an unknown man knocking on doors, officials said. Investigators said Smith was knocking on homes to hide from police.

Smith was found at about 8:40 a.m. in the area of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Burland Street. Smith resisted arrest and was tasered by a Punta Gorda officer, the department said.

Smith was in possession of a semi-automatic handgun, police said.

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