Police said Thursday morning's incident in Virginia Beach was at least the fifth time in a matter of hours the armed, masked duo held up area 7-Elevens, the Virginian-Pilot reported — but this time the outcome would prove very different.
Barrie Engel, who owns a restaurant down the street, told the paper she stopped in the 7-Eleven on South Newtown Road around 2 a.m. for a quick snack when the trouble began.
"Two gentlemen — armed, masked, robbers — came in the store with their guns up and told us to stay where we were, nobody move," she told paper. "I did exactly that. I pretty much froze and looked at my friend, and he looked at me, wondering, 'Is this really happening? Is this real?'"
One of the robbers stayed near the door while the other went behind the counter and started putting money in his pockets, Engel told the paper.
"I was looking right at (the robber) and then I looked at the clerk, and the clerk raised his hands and said, 'Come on, man, don't do this.' And not sooner than he said that, I heard a gunshot, and as soon as I heard the gunshot, I dropped down to the ground and put my hands over my head and started praying because I thought the guy shot the clerk," she noted to the paper. "After that shot it was like three shots: bam, then bam bam. It could have been two, two or three."
'Nobody's gonna point a gun at me and get away with it'
Engel noted to the paper that she looked at her friend, and then saw a man standing by her who said, "Nobody's gonna point a gun at me and get away with it." The paper said that man was a bystander who fired his own gun at the would-be robbers.
Engel told the paper she saw one of the masked men dead on the floor while the other one behind the counter was asking for help after being shot. Police arrived at the scene not long after, the paper said.
What about the other robberies?
The Virginian-Pilot said there were four other 7-Eleven robberies in the area — another one in Virginia Beach, two in Norfolk, and one in Newport News — with the same M.O. But the clerks in the other incidents complied and no one was injured, police told the paper.
'Thank God for that guy'
Charges are pending against the injured robber and another man police found nearby they believe was involved, the paper said, adding that police haven't said if they'll charge the bystander who did the shooting.
The names of the fatally shot robber and injured robber haven't been released, and the bystander's name will be released only if he's charged, police told the paper. The New York Daily News said police confirmed his gun is legal.
As for Engel, she's thankful for the man in the store who was armed and ready.
"Thank God for that guy because who knows what could have happened," she told the paper. "I want to thank that guy personally. I want to buy him a steak dinner."