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Clerk, customer held hostage in convenience store overnight

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Newington, CT (WFSB) — Two men were arrested after an attempted robbery and hostage situation at a convenience store in Newington early Friday morning.

Officers were called to the 7-Eleven convenience store on Willard Avenue at about 2:10 a.m. after the clerk set off the panic alarm.

An officer patrolling in the area quickly responded and found two armed suspects, 21-year-old Albert Gonzalez and 18-year-old Guillermo Casada inside the store along with the store clerk and a customer.

“Got a phone call from my grandmother basically telling me that the cops told her to stay inside,” neighbor Carmelo Rivera said.

Police said the store clerk was bleeding from his head. Investigators determined that his injuries were “when he was struck on the head with the shotgun.”

Police surrounded the store. Connecticut State Police along with officers from West Hartford, Wethersfield, Berlin and Rocky Hill assisted with setting up the perimeter.

However, the suspects refused to surrender to officer. Police said Gonzalez and Casada instead held the clerk and customer hostage for a period of time.

One of the patrol officers was able to make contact with the suspects and talked them out about 40 minutes later, police said.

Gonzalez and Casada “held up a white towel and surrendered to officers after being given verbal commands over a loud speaker,” police said. They were taken into custody without further problems.

The clerk did suffer an injury and was taken to Hartford Hospital, police said. He has since been treated and released from the hospital. The customer “was also assaulted and sustained a minor injury,” police said.

“It’s usually a quiet place,” Dave Durkin, of Newington, said.

Gonzalez and Casada were both charged with two counts of first-degree kidnapping as well as one count of first-degree robbery, first-degree conspiracy to commit robbery, second-degree assault, first-degree reckless endangerment, first-degree threatening and criminal use of a firearm or electric defense weapon. Gonzalez was also charged with criminal possession of a firearm or electric defense weapon.

Gonzalez was released on $750,000 bond while Casada was released on $500,000 bond. Both are expected to appear in New Britain Superior Court on April 25.

Willard Avenue remained closed in the area of Camp and Harding avenues during police investigation.