SYLACAUGA, Ala. (WIAT) – A store clerk is dead after it was ruled that he accidentally shot himself while examining a gun earlier this week.

On Monday, a firefighter stopped by the Hop In Convenience Store to make a purchase and found the store clerk lying in a pool of blood behind the counter. Officers from the Sylacauga Police Department (SPD) responded at 12:45 p.m. to a call of a subject injured and possibly dead at the store on N Broadway Avenue and 10th Street.

Upon arrival, officers found 21-year-old Pankaj Pankaj lying on the floor with a handgun lying next to his body.

Sylacauga Investigator, Lt. Willis Whatley, responded to the scene and started the investigation into the death of Pankaj. During the investigation, store video was reviewed, and it was determined that Pankaj had accidentally shot himself in the head while looking at the firearm that was property of the store owner. The owner kept the gun behind the counter for self-protection.

Pankaj’s death was ruled an accident by the coroner after he reviewed the video, too. 

Pankaj was taken from the scene by Community Funeral Home to await the arrival of his family where they determined where his remains would be transported for burial.

SPD asks that if anyone has information about this or any other crime to call the SPD tip line at (256)-249-4716 or SPD at (256)-267-0090. You can also call Central Alabama Crime Stoppers at (334)-215-STOP (7867). Your information could get you a reward.