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Armed robbery outside Walmart: Suspect in lot holdup also sought by police in Indy shootings

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Balagoon Sankofa
Balagoon Sankofa

A man accused of four weekend shootings that left one man dead in Indianapolis is wanted in Columbus on suspicion that he stole a rifle and ammunition from a customer at the city’s west side Walmart just a few days later.

Balagoon Sankofa, 49, of Indianapolis, is being sought by Indianapolis police in the Friday night and Saturday shootings of four people that left one dead.

Lt. Matt Myers, public information officer for the Columbus Police Department, said local authorities were called about 3 p.m. Monday to the Walmart at 2025 Merchants Mile, where a victim claimed he was robbed of a newly purchased, high-powered Mossberg rifle and a box of ammunition.

Myers said the victim had just gotten into his car when the assailant pulled behind him in a sedan.

The suspect asked the man about his rifle and offered to sell other guns to him.

The victim declined the offer, after which the suspect went to his vehicle, supposedly to retrieve a phone number so the victim could call if he changed his mind.

Myers said the assailant returned with a cloth-covered handgun and demanded the victim’s newly purchased rifle and ammunition.

Police discovered during an investigation that the same gunman had been in the store’s sporting goods department near the gun display, making workers uncomfortable.

Surveillance video of the suspect and his car matched the description of the man Indianapolis police were seeking in shootings Friday and Saturday. Interviews with witnesses and the surveillance video led police to conclude that Monday’s holdup was related to the suspect in the Indianapolis shootings.

Sgt. Linda Jackson, spokeswoman for the Indianapolis Police Department, said in a press release that Sankofa is suspected in the shooting of William Cullens, 45, about 11 p.m. Friday on Indianapolis’ northwest side. Cullens was hospitalized in serious condition.

Indianapolis police believe Sankofa was involved the next morning in an arson and shooting that injured Shana Ford-Gogoua and Zackary Joseph.

Sankofa is accused of then shooting Khalfani Shabazz, 51, on Saturday, who later died.

Sankofa, who also goes by the names of Harold Bishop, Zimbabwe Sancoffe and Larry Lane, was last seen in a charcoal grey Mazda M6.

He is described as a tall and thin black man with dreadlocks, and is considered armed and dangerous.

Anyone who sees him or has information about him has been asked to call Columbus police Sgt. Tom Foust at 376-2642.

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