Originally created 05/29/99

Two restaurants robbed

For the second time in her life, Christina Swan was involved in a holdup, when two gunmen robbed a south Augusta Huddle House where she was working Thursday night.

"I'm fed up," she said. Ms. Swan said she was scared "for a split second," but added that mostly she's just furious.

She was robbed the first time while working at a different Augusta restaurant.

Police suspect the Huddle House at 2626 Tobacco Road was the second restaurant two gunmen robbed that night. The first happened 30 minutes earlier at a Pizza Hut at 2230 Rosier Road.

They pistol-whipped a man in one robbery and shot a man in the other, said Chief Deputy Ronald Strength.

The Richmond County Sheriff's Department is offering a $1,000 reward to anyone who provides information leading to the arrest and conviction of the gunmen.

Ms. Swan was waiting tables when the men entered the Huddle House around 11 p.m. -- one with a semiautomatic handgun and the other with a revolver.

Both men covered their faces with T-shirts, Chief Deputy Strength said. While one grabbed money from the cash register drawer, the other took money from two customers.

But one of the gunmen dropped the cash drawer, startling his accomplice, who shot Louis Oliver Goehri, 21, from Missouri, in the lower right side of his back, Chief Deputy Strength said.

Mr. Goehri had been eating dinner with his family.

Ms. Swan was on the floor when she heard the gunshot. "I looked at him (the gunman), turned around and fell. It was my first instinct to hit the ground," she said.

When you hear a gunshot, she said, "you're waiting for the sting going in your back, thinking it was you -- wondering if it was you."

The gunmen then fled, running into a wooded area behind the Huddle House. Mr. Goehri was taken to Medical College of Georgia Hospital where he was listed in good condition, Chief Deputy Strength said.

Earlier Thursday, a man carrying a black semiautomatic handgun and covering his face with a T-shirt entered the Pizza Hut, Chief Deputy Strength said.

An employee, Reynaldo Marrero Jr., was sweeping the floor behind the counter. The gunman grabbed Mr. Marrero's arm, stuck the gun in his face and demanded he open the register, according to police.

When Mr. Marrero said he didn't know how to open the register, the gunman hit him in the face with the gun about four times, Chief Deputy Strength said.

The gunman fled, jumping into the passenger side of a small dark car, possibly a Dodge Neon.

Mr. Marrero was taken to MCG, where he received stitches to his nose.

Both suspects are described as black. One is 5 feet 10 inches tall and slender, wearing dark pants and a light-colored T-shirt. The other is described as 6 feet tall, 150 pounds, wearing dark camel pants and a black T-shirt.

"If they do it once, they'll do it again. That's my theory," Ms. Swan said.

Anyone has information about the robbers can call the Richmond County Sheriff's Department at (706) 821-1020 during office hours and (706) 821-1080 after hours.

Jessica Rinck covers crime and can be reached at (706) 823-3225 or jessica.rinck@augustachronicle.com


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