An Oak Ridge man has been indicted on aggravated robbery, aggravated kidnapping, and aggravated assault charges after an alleged robbery at Hibachi Burger in Grove Center in January 2017.
A 19-count indictment was filed against Dominique Leshawn Gordon, 22, by the Anderson County Grand Jury on April 3.
Gordon pleaded not guilty during an arraignment in Anderson County Criminal Court in Clinton on April 30.
His indictment includes one count of aggravated robbery; one count of especially aggravated kidnapping with a weapon when a child, who was then two years old, was involved; eight counts of aggravated kidnapping while committing a felony, confining the victims and interfering with their liberty; and nine counts of aggravated assault while using a gun.
The alleged robbery at gunpoint was reported at about 6:10 p.m. Tuesday, January 10, 2017. Gordon allegedly entered Hibachi Burger while displaying a firearm, and he demanded money from the register while showing the gun to several employees and customers, “placing them in fear of serious bodily injury,” according to affidavits filed in Anderson County General Sessions Court in Oak Ridge.
Victims testified during a preliminary hearing in Anderson County General Sessions Court on December 5. They described seeing a silver or nickel-plated pistol or handgun held by a black man with short “dreads” and the lower part of his face covered by a bandana. The man was wearing a dark, black or gray hooded sweatshirt with the hood up and shoes with blue on them, the victims said. The gun was pointed at several of them, the victims said, and they said they were scared and did not feel free to move or leave the restaurant.
After getting the money, Gordon allegedly fled on foot, but he was caught a short time later by Oak Ridge Police Department patrol officers, according to the affidavits filed before the preliminary hearing. Officers who searched him after his arrest found the money that had been taken from the restaurant, according to the affidavits, which were filed by ORPD Detective A. Marvell Moore.
Using the gun, Gordon stole about $415 from restaurant owner Nang Crossno during the alleged robbery, according to the indictment.
The indictment lists nine victims, including Crossno and two restaurant staff members, and six customers, including the young child.
During the preliminary hearing in December, Crossno testified that he placed about $400 in cash in a zippered black pouch after employee Hollie Green had trouble opening the cash register—after Gordon demanded she empty it. During that hearing, ORPD Officer Deerk Burchfield said police found a bag with about $400 inside Gordon’s backpack when he was stopped on Hillside Road that night after fleeing from police on Hamilton Circle, which is within a few miles of the restaurant.
Gordon’s description matched the description of the suspect that had been sent out to police after the robbery, and no one else out at that time matched the description, Burchfield said.
Other testimony was used to link Gordon to the alleged robbery. For example, Hibachi Burger employee Wanda Reagan said she told Crossno after the robbery that she recognized the suspect’s voice and tennis shoes from the night before, when the man had ordered just a soda, came back for a refill, and briefly walked around the restaurant.
Crossno, who followed the suspect out of the restaurant down an alley the night of the robbery and tried to track him down with help from a customer at a neighboring business, used the information from Reagan to review restaurant surveillance video from the night before and identify the suspect, who wasn’t wearing a mask then. The man he identified was wearing the same shoes and had a backpack, and Reagan verified “that was the guy,” Crossno said.
The surveillance videos—there are nine cameras at the restaurant—were provided to law enforcement, Crossno said. The cameras captured a good photo of the pouch laid on the restaurant counter during the robbery, and it matched the pouch recovered about 20 minutes later, Crossno said.
Charges against Gordon were sent to the Grand Jury after the preliminary hearing in Anderson County General Sessions Court in December. A grand jury indictment moves the case from General Sessions Court to Criminal Court.
Gordon has been jailed in the Anderson County Detention Facility in Clinton since his arrest on January 10, 2017. His bond was set at $600,000 in the December 5 preliminary hearing.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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