Wounded Convenience Store Manager Recognized Gunman As Ex-Employee With PM-Multiple Killings
Dec. 30, 1987
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) _ The wounded manager of a convenience store says he recognized his pistol- wielding assailant as a disgruntled former employee, now accused of a rampage that left 16 dead.
David Salyer said he had joined a friend for coffee Monday morning at the Sinclair Mini-Mart in Russellville.
That's when ''a guy walked in the front door, fired two shots - I thought it was a joke,'' Sayler, 38, said Tuesday from his bed at Baptist Medical Center, where he is being treated for a wound above his left eye.
''The second shot, the lady behind the cash register screamed and I knew it was for real,'' Salyer said. ''The only thing I knew was to grab a chair and I went for him. I threw the chair at him and that's when he shot me in the head.''
His friend ducked behind shelves and threw cans of soda at the gunman. ''I guess the confusion of me attacking him with the chair and him attacking him with the Cokes, the guy ran,'' Salyer said.
Salyer said the gunman was R. Gene Simmons, 47, who had worked for him until his quit his part-time job Dec. 18. Simmons ''was tired of the low pay and the long hours,'' he said.
Police said the convenience store was one stop in a citywide spree that left two people dead and four injured before Simmons surrendered.
After Simmons was arrested Monday, officers discovered the bodies of five of Simmons' relatives at his home north of Dover. Nine more bodies were found Tuesday on Simmons' property.
Salyer said he thought five shots were fired in the store. ''Of course, I was lying on the floor bleeding.''
Salyer described Simmons as ''honest with the cash register receipts.''
But he expressed little knowledge about Simmons, who started working at the store before Salyer bought it 1 1/2 years ago.