Suspect in Thanksgiving Day shooting death of Centennial store clerk is identified

A man suspected in the shooting death of a Centennial store clerk on Thanksgiving Day has been identified and his girlfriend tipped off investigators in the case.

Samuel Birch, 31, was arrested on Friday as the suspect in the shooting at a Circle K, 8263 S. Quebec St., according to the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office.

Investigators released surveillance photos Dec. 9 of the robbery and homicide suspect and that information generated tips, the sheriff’s office said.

Birch is suspected of shooting the clerk, Mauricio Omar Perez, 24, once in the stomach with a black, long-barreled revolver, according to an arrest affidavit.

Birch ordered a carton of cigarettes, pulled out the handgun and demanded money from the register, according to the affidavit. Perez complied, putting the cigarettes and the money in a plastic bag handing it to the armed robber. Birch said “thank you,” then shot the victim. The gunman fled the store on foot.

The robbery is similar to an early robbery nearby the same day at a Conoco station, the affidavit said. In that robbery a man wearing a hoody with “No Pain No Jain” written on the front also used a long-barrel revolver. In the Conoco robbery, the gunman fired a single shot into the store ceiling. Investigators connected a Ford Fiesta to the Conoco robbery through video surveillance footage.

On Dec. 11, investigators were contacted by a woman, Angela Marie Olson, who identified the suspect as the boyfriend of her daughter. Investigators spoke with Jennifer Olson, 27, who said she recognized Birch in surveillance photos which had been released by the sheriff’s office. She also confirmed that Birch drove a Fiesta, and Olson also recognized the “No Pain No Jain” hoodie.

Jennifer Olson, according to the affidavit, told investigators that Birch left the apartment they share on Thanksgiving Day at about 3 p.m. and he returned about five hours later. In the following days he showed her cash and admitted to the robberies. Birch told Olson that he had buried the gun.

Birch was arrested on Friday, Dec. 11 as investigators prepared to serve a search warrant on his apartment. He was taken to the sheriff’s office headquarters where he declined an interview without consultation of an attorney.

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