Local robbery, shooting affects students, residents

After being held hostage in his place of work, Mark Hoggard, junior communications major, is picking up extra shifts.

Mondays armed robbery of Joplin restaurant Buffalo Wild Wings left some employees in need of recovery time and Hoggard is more than willing to pick up the slack.

“My manager called me last night and said ‘I need some favors’, I’ve actually picked up three or four extra shifts,” he said.

Robbery suspect, 22-year-old Paul White, entered the restaurant with bartender Mike Waldmer held at gunpoint.

“At first I didn’t believe it, one of the kitchen guys actually laughed at him, he turned around and went back to washing dishes,” Hoggard said, “I’ve never seen Mike so pale.” Employees were ordered to surrender their cell phones and forced into the restaurant office while restaurant manager Michelle Bowden unlocked the safe. The suspect led Waldmer, still with the gun at the back of his head out of the restaurant with Bowden in tow. Both were told to get into the dumpster after which the suspect fled, with police in pursuit.

Some employees took refuge in the walk-in freezer while others, including Hoggard locked doors, armed with kitchen knives.

“I don’t like not seeing what’s coming at me, Hoggard said. “When I played paint ball I was always the guy going after, I’m always on the offense. Plus my cell phone didn’t get reception in the cooler.”

White ran across the Target parking lot taking refuge in an abandoned shed on the south side of 7th Street after fatally shooting K-9 unit German Shepard, Cezar, at point-blank range in the head.

“I thought it was terrible because he [Cezar] is just like a police officer,” said Amber Simpson, junior graphic design major.

For the duration of the standoff, local residents, including Sam McDonald, senior communications major, were asked to evacuate their homes as police attempted to talk down the gunman.

“It was only 60 feet from my backyard, it very well could have been my shed,” McDonald said.

The standoff ended at 10:39 a.m. with Whites surrender to police.

“It was a sense of intrusion, kind of like being violated, work is pretty much a safe place, you control your atmosphere, then something like this happens,” Hoggard said, “You have this unknown come in, it just throws off you sense of stability.”