It’s hard to know when and where you might face an armed, violent criminal intent on doing harm to you and those around you. If you knew in advance, of course, you’d avoid going there.
If you work in a smoke shop, however, you can’t just stay home and still draw a paycheck. Following are four times when armed smoke shop employees have saved themselves and others with firearms.
A man entered the Paradise Island Smoke Shop in DeKalb County, Ga., and requested that an employee retrieve an item from a shelf. When the employee turned to get the item, the man drew a shotgun and trained it on the worker. As the employee turned around, he grabbed the shotgun barrel, forced it in a different direction, and then drew a gun. The employee fired one shot, killing the armed robber. (The Atlanta Journal Constitution, Atlanta, Ga., 5/7/15)
Three armed men entered Deuce’s Smoke Shop in Pharr, Texas, and attempted to rob the store. An owner responded to the threat by retrieving a gun and firing at the criminals, striking and killing one, and causing the others to flee. Police captured one of the suspects shortly after the shooting and have charged him with murder in the death of his accomplice. Pharr Police Chief Ruben Villescas told local media that he does not expect the store owner to be charged. (The Monitor, McAllen, Texas, 5/2/14)
Three men entered a Cigars International store one evening and attempted to purchase a tobacco product. The store manager, 37-year-old Matthew Bzura, asked to see an ID. After Bzura explained to them that it was against the law to sell tobacco products without seeing proper identification, one customer became irate and went as far as to angrily knock over a large sign outside of the store. When Bzura confronted the men causing havoc outside, one of them produced a knife and held it to Bzura’s throat. Bzura quickly responded by pulling out his legally concealed .40-cal. handgun. All three men fled on foot. “I have never been in a situation like that,” Bzura said. “Basically, my instincts kicked in.” (The Express-Times, Bethlehem, Pa., 5/5/12)
An armed robber entered the Up In Smoke shop in Albuquerque, N.M., drew a gun and demanded cash and items from the people inside. A struggle over the gun ensued between the robber and the store’s clerk, which resulted in the gun firing and the criminal falling to the ground. As the robber was on the ground, the clerk retrieved a shotgun from behind the counter and ordered the criminal to drop his gun. The robber refused, at which point the clerk shot at him, causing the criminal to flee. An investigation of the scene revealed that the criminal lost the tip of his finger in the altercation. Police hoped that the recovered digit would be useful in tracking the suspect. (The Albuquerque Journal, Albuquerque, N.M.; 3/6/12; KOAT, Albuquerque, N.M., 3/7/12)