NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A teenage girl who was the subject of an Amber alert in Tennessee after she failed to return home from school is now charged in the fatal shooting of a gas station attendant, police said. The man with whom the girl disappeared is also charged.
Daniel Clark and the 15-year-old are charged with criminal homicide, especially aggravated robbery and attempted auto theft, Nashville police said in a statement. Police think the two tried to force the attendant, 58-year-old John Daniel Stevens, to give up his car keys at gunpoint Tuesday night after their vehicle ran out of gas.
They left together on foot after Clark, 28, shot the attendant and were arrested Wednesday near an intersection after authorities issued an alert and a dump truck driver saw the teenager standing by the road, police said.
Online jail records don’t indicate whether Clark has an attorney.
The two are from Dayton, Tennessee, about 110 miles east of Nashville. News outlets report that the girl’s mother said she was seen entering a vehicle with Clark on Monday morning. The mother reported her missing Monday afternoon when she did not come home from school.
An Amber alert was not issued Monday because Clark’s criminal record “indicated a very minimal kind of contact with law enforcement and nothing that really spoke to the potential of violence,” said Josh DeVine, a spokesman for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, which issues the alerts.
Also, the Dayton police were not able to give the bureau information that definitively placed the girl with Clark, DeVine said.
“So, on the surface, this looked like a runaway situation,” DeVine said.
Bureau spokeswoman Susan Niland said one of the criteria for Amber alerts is the belief that the juvenile faces an “imminent threat to bodily injury or harm.”
“At that point, that had not been the case,” Niland said.
Police focused their search in Nashville after the two were captured on the station’s surveillance video. Authorities then issued the Amber alert out of concern she was in danger, DeVine said.
The surveillance video shows Clark confront the gas station attendant as the girl is standing nearby, Nashville police said. Clark pointed the gun at Stevens’ head at close range, and the attendant tried to grab Clark’s gun hand.
Clark then stepped back and fired shots into Stevens’ body, police said. Clark then went behind the counter, searched the attendant’s pockets, and took Stevens’ keys, police said.
Clark and the girl went to an SUV parked next to the building and tried to enter it, but it was not the attendant’s vehicle. They tried to steal the SUV but could not so they fled, police said.
Detectives believe they spent Tuesday night in the woods of west Nashville before their arrest the next morning. Police said it appears the girl and Clark have known each other for years and have been planning to leave Dayton together for the past several weeks.
Nashville police spokesman Don Aaron said the girl was charged with criminal homicide after police saw the video and interviewed her and Clark. Aaron said both of them implicated themselves in the interview as being involved in the shooting, but he did not provide details about their statements.
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