The people waiting for hours in front of the drugstore were dazed with heat and boredom when the gunmen arrived.
The robbers demanded a cellphone from a 25-year-old in black shorts. Instead of handing it over, Junior Perez took off toward the entrance to the pharmacy. Eight shots rang out, and he fell face down.
The dozens of shoppers in line were unmoved. They held their places as the gunmen went through Perez’s pockets. They watched as thick ribbons of blood ran from the young man’s head into the grooves of the tiled walkway. And when their turns came, each bought the two tubes of rationed toothpaste they were allowed.
“These days, you have to put the line above everything,” said pharmacist Haide Mendoza, who was there that morning. “You make sure you get what you need, and you don’t feel sorry for anyone.”