A gas station clerk was confronted  by a masked armed robber brandishing a revolver this morning in Norton Shores, Michigan, and was forced into a back room of the station.

After the suspect filled his bag with cigarettes, the clerk—perhaps fearing he was going to be murdered—drew his concealed handgun, and things got interesting.

Police said the incident was reported at 6:15 a.m. on Monday. The gas station was in the process of being robbed by a masked suspect wearing dark clothing and carrying a dark revolver. The suspect, with a ski mask over his face, demanded an undisclosed amount of money from the cash register.

The male victim, a 24-year-old Muskegon Heights resident working there at the time, was then ordered into the back room of the gas station where cigarettes were loaded into a backpack, according to police. It isn’t clear whether the clerk was forced to place the cigarettes into a backpack or whether the suspect did that himself.

Once the cigarettes were placed into backpack, the clerk then pulled out a handgun, police said, and fired at the suspect.

“The clerk fearing for his safety pulled out his own handgun and started firing at the suspect. The clerk fired approximately 10 rounds inside of the store,” police said in a press release.

It is unknown at this time if the clerk hit the suspect with any of the ten shots.

Armed robbery is always extremely dangerous for both the criminals and the victims, but anecdotal accounts suggest that when employees are forced into the back of the store, they are often shot in an attempt to cover up the crime. Obviously, the clerk felt threatened enough to feel the need to draw his own firearm and fire at the robber, who was apparently then unable to fire a single return shot as he fled for his life.

It will be interesting to see of this clerk faces disciplinary action from the store. Unfortunately, many companies are more worried about being sued by an injured robber or bystander, or by the family of a dead robber or bystander, than they are concerned about the lives of their clerks.

Many clerks, however, seem to think that being murdered on the job isn’t in their best interests (imagine that!) and chose to carry concealed on the job anyway.

I’d be very curious to know how many clerks in stores with a written policy against employees carrying firearms in fact turn a blind eye to employees carrying concealed until incidents like this occur and they then feel compelled to fire the employee only after they drew their weapon and they are then forced to admit the written policy breach.

It’s a shame that company’s are more worried about facing lawsuits from criminals and bystanders injured or killed during a robbery than they are defending the lives of their employees, who certainly aren’t the beneficiaries of high hourly wages or extensive benefits packages to offset the dangers seemingly inherent in their jobs.

Were I in a position where I had to work in a “stop ‘n rob” I suspect that I’d be tempted to both carry a standard-capacity service-size 9mm and a couple of spare magazines while wearing concealable body armor during my shifts.

While concealable armor isn’t cheap, it certainly beats the tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills associated with gunshot injuries to the torso.

If the suspect took any serious hits, we should know within the next 24 hours if he seeks treatment at an area hospital.

It appears that the police consider this a clear-cut case of self-defense.