Fort Worth

Robber left Fort Worth store clerk dead, took no money, police say

Clerk was obeying orders when shot to death

Police are still looking for suspect.
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Police are still looking for suspect.

Christian Silva ate Xanax bars and drank some cough syrup on Saturday afternoon, put on a bandana, grabbed a handgun and went to rob the Pronto Food Mart, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.

During the holdup, Silva, 20, fired once at store clerk Jimmy Khela, 38, because he believed Khela was reaching for a weapon, the affidavit released Wednesday said.

The affidavit does not mention whether Khela had a weapon.

Silva left the store in the Diamond Hill neighborhood without getting any money, returning to his home, which is just six blocks from the store.

Silva surrendered to police at 2 p.m. Wednesday in downtown Fort Worth, police Sgt. Marc Povero said in an email. His arrest ended a three-day search.

Silva was in the Fort Worth Jail on Wednesday afternoon. Bail had not been set.

The affidavit gave this brief account of the holdup and shooting:

Patrol officers arrived at the store in the 800 block of East Long Avenue and found Khela dead behind a counter.

Detectives M.S. Barron and T. O’Brien arrived later and found five 9 mm shell casings outside the door.

Money was scattered on the floor around Khela’s body.

Sgt. T. Lawrence and Detective Zach Martin, assigned to the department’s digital forensics unit, arrived to process the store’s digital camera recordings.

A recording released Monday morning shows a masked gunman jumping over a counter and holding a handgun on Khela.

Khela appears to be holding a cellphone as the robber comes over the counter. The clerk backs up and continues moving away from the robber.

The clerk appears to comply with the gunman and can be seen handing over money without engaging in confrontation, according to the affidavit.

The gunman can be seen backing out of the store, but he fired a shot as he exited. Khela fell to the floor.

No customers were in the store — just Khela and a female employee, who reportedly crawled through the drive-through window to escape.

On Sunday, police released photographs of the gunman in hopes that someone would recognize him. Tipsters later identified the robber as Silva.

People interviewed by detectives said that about 12:30 p.m. Saturday, Silva took the Xanax bars (2 milligram tablets that are scored so they can be broken into smaller doses) and drank cough syrup. He also got into a fight with someone his neighborhood.

Silva later told a witness that he had gone to Pronto Food Mart just before 4:30 p.m. Saturday to rob it.

Another witness told detectives on Saturday evening that Silva approached him, and the 20-year-old appeared emotional.

Detectives also learned Silva called his girlfriend several times, asking her to go away with him.

Detectives have said Silva could be responsible for other robberies.

This report contains material from Star-Telegram archives.

Domingo Ramirez Jr.: 817-390-7763, @mingoramirezjr

To help Khela family

A trust fund has been established for Jimmy Khela’s children.

As of Tuesday, almost $50,000 had been raised.

Source: Friends and family members of Jimmy Khela