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Arapahoe County gas station robbery and homicide suspect identified

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Posted at 12:45 PM, Dec 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-16 18:18:27-05

ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. — The Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office has identified the man in custody for a deadly shooting at a gas station Thanksgiving night.

Investigators arrested Samuel Birch, 31, on Dec. 11 after following up on tips in the case.

The shooting and robbery happened around 6:45 p.m. on Nov. 26 at a gas station at 8263 S. Quebec St. in Centennial. Birch spoke with the clerk, later identified as 24-year-old Mauricio Omar Perez, and eventually pointed a gun at him. As Perez was handing over a shopping bag of cigarettes and money from the cash register, the suspect shot Perez, according to authorities.

According to an affidavit for his arrest, Birch told Perez that he could “shoot you when I leave or I can shoot you right now.”

After Perez loaded up a bag with the 10 packs of cigarettes and register cash Birch requested, Birch said, “Thank you,” and shot Perez in the stomach. Perez would die at a nearby hospital three hours later.

Surveillance cameras nearby captured Birch walking to his vehicle in a nearby parking lot and driving away. Officers found a cigarette butt matching the cigarettes Birch allegedly stole from the store where the car had been parked.

The affidavit says that the description of the suspect and suspect’s vehicle in another robbery, which happened Nov. 26 at a nearby Conoco, was the same as the vehicle Birch was seen using in the robbery of Perez.

Birch’s girlfriend also eventually identified him as the suspect in the robbery and shooting of Perez after seeing images in the media and listening to recordings of an audio clip from inside the store, and telling officers that Birch told her about the money and shooting.

The investigation is ongoing.