Jackson, Miss. to require overnight security guards at convenience stores

JACKSON, Miss. --

In a 4-2 vote, the Jackson City Council on Tuesday approved an ordinance requiring convenience stores to have a security guard posted from midnight to 5 a.m.

The ordinance was proposed by City Councilman Kenneth Stokes in response to several shootings at area convenience stores, the latest of which happened at 1 p.m. Monday at the Shell Station on Terry Road, Jackson police said.

The Hinds County coroner said store clerk Dilip Patel, 49, of Madison, died Tuesday afternoon at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. He had been shot in the head, police said.

Bennie Beal, 16, has been charged with murder in connection with the shooting, which store employees said was over $4.74 in gas. He's expected to appear in court Wednesday.

"You have to make sure, just because you have a job at a convenience store versus working at a bank, that you are protected and you're not going to lose your life," Stokes said.

Surinder Singh, the president of the Indian Association of Store Owners, said the new ordinance will not do any good.

"We are being made scapegoats," Singh said. "Why are we being forced to hire security guards? Are they requiring banks to have security guards? What about other late-night stores? No, only our stores. We are being made scapegoats."

Security guard James McKinney, 54, was killed and store clerk Suvin Sharth, 26, was injured on July 25 during an attempted robbery at the Shell gas station on Fortification Street, police said. Aaron McNair, 23, Kameron Woodard, 21, and Derrick Johnson, 29, are each charged with capital murder and aggravated assault in connection with the shootings.

"This silly ordinance will not help," Singh said.

City officials said store owners will be given three to four months to comply with the new ordinance.

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