GARY, Ind. (STMW) — As one robber grabbed an employee and the other brandished an Uzi-type weapon, a Rally’s co-worker took quick action, firing at the would-be criminals inside the store early Jan. 11.

The pair ran west, their robbery attempt foiled.

One of the suspects was found dead in a nearby vacant lot the next afternoon. He had been shot and killed by the Rally’s worker, investigators learned.

The results of the investigation are with the Lake County prosecutor, who will likely determine the Rally’s worker was justified in his actions.

Police declined to identify the employee.

“He feared for his life and that of his co-worker,” Gary police spokesman Sgt. Nelson Otano said.

The body of Marcus Patillo, 24, of 5864 Massachusetts St., Merrillville, Ind., was found in a weedy lot west of the restaurant. Police believe Patillo and his accomplice ran that direction after the worker shot at them. Patillo was pronounced dead at the scene about 12 hours after they entered the business through an unlocked employee entrance at 2:30 a.m. Jan. 11.

Workers were closing for the night when the men entered, restrained one employee and demanded cash.

Police said the restaurant’s service door, located on the east side of the building, didn’t lock properly and employees had reported the problem more than once.

The door opens adjacent to the drive-through lane and the lack of security was not a secret, Otano said.

Repairs were made subsequent to the shooting, police said.

Patillo was serving a five-year probation in Lake County after it was transferred from New Madrid County in Missouri in 2009. He was convicted there of possession of marijuana, court records show.

Otano said Detective Alex Jones is continuing his investigation into the incident. The prosecutor won’t make a final decision until additional information, such as the coroner’s report, is submitted.

Anyone with information about the attempted robbery or the identity of Patillo’s companion can reach Jones at (217) 881-7477.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2012. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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