Police are looking for five male suspects who fled the scene of an armed robbery at a north Fort Worth game room Wednesday. One wore a clown mask and carried a rifle that closely resembled an AK-47.
An 18-year-old woman was shot in the leg during the robbery, and was taken to Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth in stable condition, according to MedStar. Her wounds were not believed to be life-threatening, police say.
Fort Worth police were called to the game room at 3255 N. Beach St. just after 4:15 a.m. According to police records, at least six customers inside the game room had been robbed of their cash and wallets.
Surveillance video shows the suspects opening fire as soon as they enter the business. White ceiling fragments can be seen falling from the impact of multiple rounds fired.
"They entered the game room and immediately opened fire," detective Brian Raynsford said during a news conference. "They fired randomly in the building and it resulted in the serious injury to one victim. They need to be taken into custody."
Police found "a large number of shell casings in the crime scene," said officer Tracy Carter, a police spokesman.
Initial reports from witnesses said there were four assailants, but after viewing security footage at the business, named C'est La Vie Bida, police are seeking five suspects. They were last seen running toward the southeast from the game room.
Game rooms are filled with video consoles on which customers play slots, video poker or other games in hopes of winning "credits," instead of cash payouts. Some smoke shops in the area have either a back room where similar games are offered or feature two or three gaming machines inside the store.
Police have investigated several other armed robberies at businesses that straddle the line between game rooms and smoke shops.
On Thursday, Fort Worth police tweeted a news release and photos of suspects in a separate robbery at Nick's Game Room, at 3841 Alta Mesa Blvd. In that robbery, three young black males were caught on surveillance video brandishing guns. Carter said police do not believe the Alta Mesa and Beach Street robberies are connected.
Police say the suspects in the Alta Mesa holdup robbed an employee at gunpoint and left with cash, cellphones and a tablet.
Then on Monday, at about 11:45 p.m., another smoke shop was robbed at 6700 Brentwood Stair Road. Two brothers, both 33, were arrested in connection with that robbery and face aggravated robbery charges, police say.
The suspects in Wednesday morning’s game room stickup appear to be younger than Timothy Dwayne White and Michael DeAndrew White. But customers and proprietors of local game rooms and smoke shops, largely cash businesses, have been victimized in multiple cases now in Fort Worth.