Owners of Brown Bag Video Store Speak About Shooting Suspect

Owners of Brown Bag Video Store Speak About Shooting Suspect
By: CJ Cassidy

ALEXANDER COUNTY, Ill. - What happened inside Brown Bag Video?  The owners lay out the shocking details for us.

Michael Fencel, 25, of Mounds now faces charges of murder, armed robbery, and aggravated battery with a firearm.

Police arrested him in Ottawa, Illinois where his mother lives Tuesday night.

Investigators say Fencel robbed the the Brown Bag video store after shooting and killing Charles Caldwell of Cairo and injuring the store clerk.

The owners of the store say they're in shock.  They say they helped raised Michael Fencel.  He even worked at the store, so they never expected him to turn on them.

The owners said they recognized Fencel from surveillance video, but he also allegedly left behind some telltale signs.  A telephone wire hidden behind the store was cut, and the owners said only someone who worked at the store would know where it was.

"We know him very well.  He used to live with us.  He's been a long time family friend," said Diane Weber, the store manager.

Still, Weber knew about Michael Fencel's run-ins with police.

I actually met Fencel two years ago.

At the time, he claimed he couldn't find his dad after Hurricane Katrina.

Weber said Fencel hadn't seen his dad in years, and just enjoyed getting people's sympathy.

After a falling out with Fencel last year, Weber didn't hear from him again, until he allegedly showed up this week at Brown Bag Video.

That's where police say Fencel gunned down 30-year-old customer Charles Caldwell as he robbed the store.

"When he started firing shots at Charles he was trying to catch his balance and knocked over these racks when he was falling...a shot went through the candy machine," Weber pointed out at the scene.

She also said when the clerk on duty came storming out of the bathroom, Fencel allegedly demanded money out of the register.

"When he was bent over checking on Charles that's when the suspect shot the store clerk.  He laid down, pretended to be dead.  The suspect went behind the counter at that point took the tape out," she said.

Weber said little did Fencel know, they had more than one surveillance camera rolling.

"When he worked here we only had the one. He wasn't aware of the other ones," she said.

Now Weber and owner Robert Thompson mourn the loss of a friend as they recover from the violent crime that rocked their lives.

"Just because we're an adult video store, this happens in schools, post offices, you can't control humans just the way they are.  Things happen.  We are so sorry it happened at our place," Thompson said.

Thompson said he's very grateful to police for their quick actions.

Fencel is being held in an Ottawa, Illinois, jail on $1,000,000 bond.