Man with Hatchet, Gun Attacks Clerk at Market

A clerk was attacked by an armed suspect during an attempted robbery at a market in Spring Valley Saturday, officials confirmed.

The incident happened just before 3:30 p.m. at the Jamacha Produce Market on Jamacha Boulevard. Officials said the suspect, 24-year-old Harold Hill, was detained about 10 minutes after the assault was reported.

According to investigators, Hill -- a parolee wanted on a parole violation -- entered the Spring Valley store armed with a gun and a hatchet.

The suspect confronted the clerk, ran behind the counter and started grabbing money from the cash register. 

The clerk resisted, so Hill hit him at least two times in the head with the hatchet, investigators said. 

Witness Gary Duncan told NBC 7 that he saw Hill run out the front door. 

Duncan had just stopped into the market and was getting into his car in the parking lot when he heard screams coming from inside the store.

After the scuffle with the clerk, Hill left the store on his bicycle. When Duncan saw this, he drove his car into the suspect and knocked him off his bike in an attempt to stop him from fleeing before officials could arrive.

"The only thing I could think to do was use my car to slow him down," said Duncan. "I just didn't want this guy getting away, in case he murdered [the clerk]."

Hill dropped the gun and money as he fell to the ground. He then limped away.

Another man doing his laundry at the laundromat next door saw the whole scene from a different spot. He was standing by his van in the parking lot when he heard commotion coming from the market.

"I heard something get knocked over in the store. Then it escalated quickly," he recalled.

Soon, the witness said he saw a man wearing a mask come running out of the store. The man hopped on his bike and then Duncan knocked him off with his car.

“It all happened so fast. It was like being at the front row of a movie and seeing it all happen,” the witness told NBC 7.

Deputies said witnesses in this case helped immensely. When deputies arrived, witnesses pointed out where Hill was hiding out at a trailer park next door.

Taking refuge under a mobile home, Hill refused to surrender, and deputies said they saw him reach for his waistband.

Fearing he would pull out a weapon, deputies sent in a K-9 to gain control of Hill.

The inside of the produce market was trashed in the fight, which was caught on surveillance tape.

A deputy said a 12-year-old girl was inside the store at the time of the assault and can be seen ducking and running out of the market during the fight.

Officials said the surveillance footage may be released.

By 5:40 p.m., the market was still roped off and investigators remained on scene.

Officials said the clerk wast taken to the hospital for serious injuried, and Hill was treated for injuries from his contact with the Sheriff's K-9.

One witness said the clerk was badly beaten up and bloodied in the incident.

Hill was booked into the San Diego Central Jail for armed robbery and the attempted murder of the clerk.

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