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Wounded teen charged with robbery

Originally ran here in The Spokesman-Review
Thursday, May 31, 2001

Spokane detectives arrested a teen who had been shot in the back after they figured out he may have been shot while trying to rob a small South Hill business two weeks ago.

Mark J. Atkins, 19, was taken into custody May 22 after he was released from an area hospital where he had been treated for a bullet wound to his back, police spokesman Dick Cottam said. He did not have any more details about the injury.

Atkins, who said he was a transient, claimed he had been shot while walking in Grant Park May 18, about the same time as the robbery had occurred. However, police ruled out the park ruse when people who were there at the time said they heard nothing like a shot, Cottam said.

Instead, detectives believe that Atkins is the robber who tried to hold up a small business at 1108 S. Perry. Cottam said the teen walked into the store and started taking money from the cash register when the 82-year-old shop owner tackled him. The two wrestled until a knife dropped from the teen's pocket.

The owner picked up a handgun he had behind the counter and fired three shots, and the thief dropped everything and fled on a bicycle.

Police ruled the shooting self-defense, Cottam said.

Atkins was booked into jail on a first-degree robbery charge.

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