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A Verizon Wireless store clerk in Inver Grove Heights exchanged gunfire and wounded one of two robbers in a daylight holdup, authorities said.

One of the men suspected in the late-morning stickup ran from the store off Hwy. 52 in the 9000 block of Cahill Avenue and got away in a minivan, according to police dispatch audio.

The wounded suspect was reported to be "awake and breathing" in the back of the store soon afterward, while the clerk had "both guns in his hands" while waiting for police to arrive, the dispatch audio revealed.

"While being held at gunpoint, the clerk drew his own gun from his waistband and shot the male suspect brandishing the firearm," the police statement read.

The clerk does have a government-issued permit to carry a firearm, said police Lt. Joshua Otis.

Otis said the suspect also fired his weapon, but it's uncertain who fired first.

There was no immediate word on the severity of the wounded suspect's condition, although police said in a statement later that he had "multiple gunshot wounds" and that he was taken by ambulance under police custody to Regions Hospital in St. Paul.

The suspects "had been in the store multiple times" recently as part of their plot to hold up the business, Otis said.

The clerk is employed by Cellular Connection, a partner of Verizon.

The van with the at-large suspect is described as light blue with a dent on the rear bumper.

It was seen turning left on Concord Boulevard, the audio dispatch continued.

Anyone with information about the holdup is urged to contact police at 651-450-2525.

Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482