In the past, pharmacists were able to concentrate mostly on preparing and dispensing prescriptions to those needing medicines for various health issues. Now, however, pharmacies have become frequent targets of violent thieves, drawn by money and drugs in the same location.
Yet potential thieves are finding that some pharmacists know how to handle a firearm just as well as an autoclave, as you’ll see in these six stories.
A woman entered Spalitto’s Pharmacy in Kansas City, Mo., claimed she was armed, and demanded Oxycontin from a pharmacist. The pharmacist responded to the threat by retrieving a .45-caliber pistol and levelling it at the robber, which prompted her to flee. Following the incident, the pharmacist told a local media outlet, “I don't want to come across as a macho person … I care about everybody who is in there.” He also added, “It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out if you're selling drugs in this day and age you should have a gun on you.” (KCTV, Kansas City, Mo., 06/09/15)
A man with what looked like a real gun entered Medicap Pharmacy in Cheyenne, Wyo., pointed it at an employee, handed over a bag, and ordered him to fill it with oxycodone and Percocet. Pharmacist Jackson Quick became aware of the robbery, and retrieved a gun. As Quick was making his way to another part of the store, he ducked behind a counter, but the criminal spotted him. Quick responded by standing up and firing at the criminal, striking him and ending the robbery. The robber is expected to survive. Police have no plans to charge Quick. (The Wyoming Tribune Eagle, Cheyenne, Wyo., 12/9/14)
A man entered Lolo Drug pharmacy in Missoula County, Mont., and demanded oxycodone from the pharmacist. The pharmacist and owner, an 80-year-old Army veteran, responded by retrieving a gun and ordered the criminal out of the store. The robber complied, and according to police was screaming on his way out. The criminal should have known better than to take on Lolo Drug, as this isn’t the first time the pharmacist has encountered a robber. During the last attempt in 1999, when a criminal drew a gun on the pharmacist, he wrestled it away and aimed it at the robber, causing him to flee. (The Missoulian, Missoula, Mont., 10/06/11)
Owner Andy Blansett and employee Melanie Miller were working at the Medicine Shoppe pharmacy in North Little Rock, Ark., when a man came in and demanded painkillers. The man then drew a machete, intimidated Miller and attempted to climb over the pharmacy’s counter. In response, Blansett retrieved a .45-caliber pistol and pointed it at the thief, causing him to flee. Drug thieves beware, in an interview with a local media outlet Blansett noted, “All of the independently owned pharmacists I know carry a concealed [weapon] on them or have one in the store.” (KATV, Little Rock, Ark., 09/05/13)
Pharmacist Dr. John Agyemang was working his shift at Jolin’s Pharmacy in Winslow, N.J., when an armed robber entered the store and demanded OxyContin pills. Agyemang responded by retrieving a gun and firing at the criminal, who fled to a bike and into a nearby wooded area. An investigation revealed that Agyemang had a firearm owner’s identification card as required by New Jersey law. When asked about his actions Agyemang was humble, stating, “I'm no hero, but I thought, either him or I.” (CBS News, 9/14/12)
Little Rock, Ark., pharmacist Danny Matson had "a bad feeling" when a man walked into his store. His feeling got worse when the man pulled a .22 cal. pistol and demanded narcotics. But instead of complying, Matson retrieved a .44 Mag. revolver and in an exchange of gunfire, killed the robber. The local sheriff called the killing "perfectly justified," and added, "let this be a warning" to armed robbers. (The Arkansas Democrat, Little Rock, Ark., 3/18/82)