19-year-old suspect arrested in store clerk shooting


Police have made an arrest in connection with a shooting and aggravated robbery Thursday that left a store clerk in critical condition.

Michael Merritt, 19, of Pine Bluff was arrested Friday and is being held at the adult detention center pending a probable cause hearing for attempted capital murder and aggravated robbery charges, according to a press release from Pine Bluff Police Department spokeswoman Lt. JoAnn Bates.

After apprehending the suspect, detectives executed a search warrant in the 4500 block of Union Street and seized several items believed to be associated with the crime scene, according to the release.

The police report identified the victim as Haidem Shah, 37, who was said to be in critical condition at Jefferson Regional Medical Center late Friday night.

Shah was shot following an apparent robbery attempt at the A & Y Shell convenience store at 3110 S. Camden Road at about 9 p.m. Thursday.

Capt. Greg Shapiro said the suspect entered the store, attempted to make a purchase, then pulled out a firearm and shot the clerk. The suspect ran behind the counter and unsuccessfully tried to get into the cash register, then fled the store running east.

On Friday, Bates said the investigation into the case is continuing and asked anyone with information to contact the Detective Division at 730-2090. All calls will be kept confidential.

Anonymous tips may be submitted through the police department website at www.pbpd.org or through the Facebook page. To text a tip to Detectives, text to 274637, then put “PBPD” with the message.

This was the second convenience store clerk shot in less than a month at Pine Bluff.

On Sept. 25, Mohammad Islam, 26, who worked at the Big Red Food Mart at 2401 E. Sixth Ave., was pronounced dead of apparent multiple gunshot wounds to the upper body after police were sent to the store at about 9:25 p.m. to check a report that a person had been shot.

No arrests have been made in that case, and a proposed ordinance requiring certain commercial establishments to install and maintain surveillance cameras will be considered by the Pine Bluff City Council next month. That ordinance was prompted by the death of Islam. Security cameras inside the business where he was killed were not in working order.