Man with distinctive handkerchief sought in Titusville armed robbery

By Greg Pallone, Reporter
Last Updated: Thursday, July 13, 2017, 6:01 PM EDT

A Titusville restaurant clerk is fighting for his life after being threatened, then shot during a robbery Wednesday night.

  • China 1 restaurant in Titusville held up Wednesday night
  • Police: Man took money from compliant clerk but shot him anyway
  • Investigators looking for man who had a distinctive handkerchief

It happened at about 10 p.m. at China 1 off Harrison Street.

Police said a man came in and demanded cash from the till — and even after getting it, took aim on the worker before running out of the store.

He remains at large.

Police released surveillance video that shows a masked man armed with a handgun demanding money from the clerk. The worker is seen doing what he's told. The robber then grabs cash and makes his way out of the store.

But moments later, he points and fires.

"Unfortunately, the person had blatant disregard for human life and shot him anyway," the Titusville Police Department's Amy Matthews said.

The robber is about 6 feet tall with a slender build.

Investigators want the public to focus on the distinctive handkerchief with a white-and-black skull he used to cover his face.

Mike Vaf drives a taxi and is a regular China 1 customer. He's in shock that the clerk was shot, even after cooperating with masked man.

"I know how they feel. It never leaves you," he said.

Vaf was robbed in 1992 as he worked at an Orlando-area pizza shop. Two people came in the back door and held a gun to his head.

"After he took the money, he cocked the gun to shoot us. I don't know how, but I just ran out," he said.

But as Wednesday night's video shows, the China 1 clerk had no chance.

"We want to get this person off the streets as fast as possible," Matthews said.

The clerk is still listed in serious condition.

Anyone with information on the masked man's whereabouts is urged to call Titusville Police or Crimeline at 1-800-423-TIPS.

The man who held up and shot a restaurant clerk in Titusville on Wednesday night was wearing a distinctive handkerchief. (Titusville Police)