PEMBROKE — Next time, there won’t be a next time.
That is the promise of a store clerk who this week was almost robbed at gunpoint, but pulled her own gun to thwart the attempt.
“If he comes back, I will kill him,” said Jenna, who works at Oasis Country Tobacco Store, located at 2765 Prospect Road in Pembroke.
Jenna, who asked that her last name not be used, was counting down her drawer at about 9 p.m. on Monday when a man came in to buy some cigars. As he walked toward the door to leave, a man in a black mask and gray hoodie came out of nowhere and pointed what appeared to be a Glock 9 mm at her, Jenna said.
He was demanding money.
“His gun was in my face. I didn’t expect this to happen,” Jenna said. “I am sure he didn’t expect it either. I was ready.”
Jenna had her own 9 mm handgun, a Taurus.
“All I saw were eyes. I reached and got my gun and pointed it in his face,” Jenna said. “He ran out real fast. I got out from behind the counter after him.”
She fired three shots in the robber’s direction, Jenna said. There was no evidence that he was struck.
“I just wanted him to get out of my parking lot,” she said. “I ran back in, locked the door behind me and called the law at 8:59.”
Sheriff’s deputies arrived about three minutes later and began their investigation, which has included a review of the video from a store camera. The gunman was described as a young, light-skinned man, about 5 feet 9 inches tall.
When Awad Alsaidi, the 20-year-old store co-owner from Salemburg, arrived at the store, he was welcomed by three Sheriff’s Office cruisers and a detective in an unmarked car.
“It was a crime scene. I was scared for her,” Alsaidi said. “The adrenaline was pumping through my veins, like I drank five energy drinks.”
Evidence markers and shell casings from Jenna’s gun were scattered throughout the parking lot, he said.
“I was born in New York. I’ve been robbed before and when it happened they left with nothing,” Alsaidi said. “Just like he did, he got nothing.”
The news of the attempted robbery spread rapidly, Jenna said. In a matter of minutes about 10 cars were in the parking lot.
She is well known in the tight-knit community of Prospect, Jenna said.
“I grew up here, been here all my life. It makes me feel good to know my community has my back and were concerned for me,” Jenna said. “Next time they may not be so lucky.”
Jenna has been working at the store for about four months. It is not her first stint at the store. She had worked there previously for a nine-month stint.
The store has been robbed before, Alsaidi said.
“It was about 9 years ago, and this is not going to happen again,” he said. “I got something for them, too.”
Anyone with information about the attempted robbery is asked to call the Robeson County Sheriff’s Office at 910-671-3100.
Reach Annick Joseph by calling 910-416-5165 or via email at [email protected] or Facebook Annick MultiMedia Journalist.