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Families want justice for suspects killed after robbery of Krick's Korner store in Reading

By Ryan Hughes, Reporter, RHughes@wfmz.com
Liz Kilmer, Reporter, LKilmer@wfmz.com
Jennifer Joas, Reporter, JJoas@wfmz.com
69 News, follow: @69news, news@wfmz.com
Published On: Nov 05 2013 04:32:55 PM CST
Updated On: Nov 05 2013 04:33:00 PM CST

Two armed men wearing masks were shot and killed after robbing a small grocery store in Reading on Monday, police said.

READING, Pa. -

Twenty-four hours after two men were killed during a botched robbery in Reading, the corner store where it happened was open again for business Tuesday.

Crowds gathered outside Krick's Korner, 1671 N. 9th St., and candles flickered on the sidewalk Tuesday.     

Two masked men armed with guns burst inside the store Monday afternoon. They were met by a man described by officials as a "concerned citizen," who witnessed the robbery in progress.

"He saw the first suspect with his arms extended, holding a large revolver, and he looked and saw a second suspect, also with his arms extended," said Sgt. John Solecki, Reading Police Dept.

That citizen, whose name has not been released, called 911. When the two men came outside, they threatened him, and the tables were turned, said police.    

The store owner had no comment Tuesday, but former city councilman and store regular, Mike Schorn, spoke on his behalf.

"He's so sad by the whole thing because it's bad for his business, and it's very sad for the obvious result," said Schorn.

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Alexander Garcia-Bialek was charged Tuesday, keeping his head down as he was led out of police headquarters overnight.

Garcia-Bialek, 21, was picked up at his home in Fleetwood, and police are calling him the would-be getaway driver.

"He was charged as an accomplice because he was involved in the planning of this robbery where they targeted that store," said Solecki.

Garcia-Bialek is facing second degree murder and conspiracy charges.

Police said they are confident no one else was involved in the robbery.

Meantime, family members of the two masked men spoke out Tuesday.

"It's not fair," said Virginia Medina, mother of 24-year-old William Medina, who police said robbed Krick's Korner store alongside 18-year-old Robert De Carr on Monday.

The two men were shot and killed by a private citizen while leaving the store, and family members want to see charges pressed.

"[William] had no right to lose his life over something that man could have called the police for," said Medina. "He took the law into his own hands and walked away scot-free."

"How about if people just start running around here, policing the city on their own? How much worse is it going to get?" said Peter Ratel, Medina's cousin.

The family members said they are hurt by comments suggesting the alleged robbers were "thugs."

According to Medina, William was "no big hard criminal" and was rather a family-man who loved his young daughter.

Robert De Carr was described similarly by his sister, Taylor De Carr.

"My brother was a good kid," she told 69 News.

While family members are demanding justice, police and prosecutors said the man who shot and killed the two suspects acted within the law.

City police had a lot of investigating to do once they arrived on the scene Monday afternoon. They found the two suspects lying dead in the street and the private citizen admitting to pulling the trigger.

"The majority of this whole incident was captured on video footage. We were able to review that video footage, and we also benefited from the fact that there were a number of witnesses," said District Attorney John Adams.

After extensively investigating the incident, police determined the private citizen, whose name has not been released, acted within the law when he tried to stop the two suspects from fleeing the convenience store.

Adams said the private citizen demanded that they stop and wait for police. He said when the robbers refused and pulled out their guns, the citizen shot them in self-defense.

"He needed to defend himself because if he would not have used force, he himself may have suffered the wrath of those two gun-toting robbers," said Adams.

Adams said he does not condone violence on the streets of Reading, but the man did what he had to do to protect himself. He also has some advice for those ever in a similar situation.

"For the average citizen, if they did not possess a gun, making observations would be helpful, but be careful when confronting someone who has a gun. You have to be careful in these situations because no one wants to see anyone else get hurt," said Adams.

In addition to being exempt from criminal charges, Adams said because of the Castle Doctrine, the shooter now has civil protection from being sued by the families.