Caught on tape: Grand Junction store robbery appears to be gang initiation

Grand Junction police caught a gang initiation on tape.

Tonight, they're joining forces with law enforcement across Hardeman County to Take Back their Neighborhoods.

It's all on tape.

Two suspects in black bandanas overpower a convenience store clerk and force their way inside.

"The first thing you can see is the gun before you can even see their bodies," narrates Grand Junction Police Chief Pat Ryan.

The cashier behind the counter sees the struggle and starts firing. "When the gunman came in and pointed the gun at the cashier, he shoots off five rounds injuring both of the suspects."

But one of the suspects shot back, injuring the cashier, Betty Richie's grandson.

Police later learned the suspect used a BB gun to rob the store.

"It went right straight through the middle of his eye," said grandmother Betty Richie.

She says her grandson has no sight in one eye. "He's very frightened. He's gonna be blind. He doesn't know how to handle this. He's very upset."

Grand Junction Police Chief Pat Ryan has a good idea why this all happened. "This was a gang initiation."

He says the underage teens were on a mission.

"The mission was to go in and rob the clerk, get the money and leave."

Gang fears have gripped the small town of Grand Junction, with a population of 397.

"I'm scared every day about the gangs," said Richie.

But Chief Ryan has a plan. "We're in the process of putting together a gang task force of multiple departments to take back our cities and our community."

Though Richie says it's too late for her grandson, she's glad law enforcement is turning the tables on gangs.

Since the Sunday shootout, Chief Ryan already has a list of 60 people linked to gangs in and around Grand Junction: The Vice Lords, Crips and Gangster Disciples.

Charges are pending against the two teens and two more suspects are being questioned.

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