The owner of Suleyman’s Supermarket is thankful one of his friends was helping him run the deli on Cleveland’s West Side on Wednesday night when two teenagers entered the store and held them up at gunpoint. Not just grateful for the help, but because his friend was armed.

The armed robbers, a 19-year-old from Parma and an 18-year-old from Cleveland, entered the store about 9:45 p.m. with guns drawn and demanded the cash from the store owner. He complied, emptying the register of about $300 and handing it over to the robbers.

A passerby on the street saw the masked teens holding up the deli and flagged down police. When the armed robbers grabbed the cash and ran for the door, they saw police standing outside the door and ran back into the deli.

That’s when the store owner’s friend grabbed a gun from behind the counter and turned the tables on the teens.

As the armed robbers ran for the back room away from the police at the front door, the friend grabbed one of the men and slammed him up against the wall. He also told police he tried to coax the other robber, who was hiding out in the bathroom, by saying “my gun is bigger than yours.”

The friend eventually got the pair of armed robbers to surrender, holding them at gunpoint as he called 911 to alert the police of the situation and the store owner ordered the robbers to crawl out outside, where they were arrested by police.

The store owner knows if they didn’t have a gun for defense, they very well could have lost their lives.

“I was so panicked and scared,” he said. “They would have killed both of us. What’s going to stop them?”

“Our officers did a fabulous job,” said Tom Stacho, Cleveland’s Second District Commander . “[They] responded to the scene, secured it. The store owner and employee did a great job as well. I think they caught these two would-be robbers off guard and were able to disarm them and thankfully no one was injured.”

The suspects are in jail awaiting formal charges of aggravated robbery.