Philly store manager fends off armed robber with legally carried gun

(AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

Amazingly, this is actually the second armed citizen story we’ve covered this week involving a defensive gun use at a dollar store. The first was in Miami, where the wife of a Family Dollar store manager defended her husband against an attack. The latest? A manager at a Dollar General in Philadelphia who shot and killed an attempted robber Thursday evening.

Police say a 36-year-year old man was attempting to rob a dollar store when he pulled out what appeared to be a weapon.

The weapon, police say, was in the shape of a gun and covered in plastic.

The manager, who has a license to carry, then took out a gun and shot the suspect in the head. The shooting unfolded at the dollar store at 9th Street and Girard Avenue just after 8:30 p.m. on Thursday.

The 36-year-old walked in wearing all black and approached the cashier demanding that she open the register. Investigators say the cashier then signaled to the manager what was happening.

CBS3 has been told the manager stepped in and tried to speak with the would-be robber. But that’s when the situation escalated.

According to authorities, the suspect repeated his demands and warned that he was armed, which is when the manager pulled their own pistol and fired two rounds, striking the would-be robber in the head.

Police say the whole encounter was caught on surveillance video.

“It appears that everything that was reported by the victims of this robbery is legitimate,” Inspector D.F. Pace, of the Philadelphia Police Department, said. “The shooter did in fact have a simulated weapon, which he communicated that to the store employees.”

Dollar General’s policy on legally-armed employees is unclear, but defensive gun uses among Dollar General employees is not unheard of, and frankly, given the risks that employees face, I wouldn’t want to start my shift utterly defenseless.

Dollar General’s stores tend to be small and crowded, with high shelves and piles of boxes and carts lining the aisles. Sometimes, only one or two workers are on shift at a time.
Former executives, store employees, law enforcement officials and retail security experts told CNN Business last year that the company was failing to protect workers from violent crime. Its thinly-staffed stores and low-cost approach left workers vulnerable to robberies and other safety hazards, these sources said.
At least six Dollar General employees have died during armed robberies from 2016 to 2020, according to a review of news and police reports.
While the would-be robber’s gun in Philadelphia was fake, he clearly wanted the workers to believe that it was real and that he was ready to take their lives. He probably wasn’t thinking about the possibility that his intended victims might be willing and able to fight back; a fatal mistake on his part.
I’ve reached out to Dollar General’s corporate office in an attempt to get some clarity on the company’s policy regarding legally armed employees carrying on the job, as well as whether using a legally-owned and lawfully-carried firearm in self-defense while on the clock is cause for the company to terminate employment, as is the case with companies like Uber and Lyft. I’ll let you know what, if anything, I hear back, but I’m sincerely hoping that the company isn’t forcing its workers to choose between their life or their livelihood, and that this manager won’t be terminated for terminating a would-be robber who threatened the lives of store employees.