Clerk uses age to trick robber and grab gun

A former police officer, turned gas station clerk, was in for a surprise a week ago when an armed robbery took place in the Chesapeake, VA gas station where he was working. At first, Sammy Williams thought that the robber was joking, until he produced a gun, demanding money and other items. Williams was quoted by WKTR as stating:

“I thought it was a prank. I said dude gotta be kidding, joking. I said no to opening the drawer.”

Until this happened next:

“He started shaking the gun at me telling me to give him the other till which we don`t keep there anymore because we got robbed at the same store on June 25th at 2:40 in the afternoon. So that`s why we had a weapon there. He got upset because there wasn`t another till, so he said give me that green bag over there. I said ‘No that`s mine. It’s got my medicine it. I’m an older person, that`s my blood pressure medicine in it.’”

Buying himself time, he was able to grab his gun, hit the silent alarm, and then exchanged fire with the suspect. He fired 6 times, and it is believed that he hit the suspect 2 times. It was reported that the 6 shots were all fired within about 2 seconds.

“He was going to kill me. I wasn’t trying to hit him in the leg or shoulder. I was hitting for the sweet spot basically,” says Williams. “But my adrenaline is so high that my 6 rounds were all over the place.”

Despite purportedly hitting him twice, the suspect did get away and is still at large.

This story is certainly nothing that we ever want to encounter first hand. It illustrates that what we teach in our course is a very good representation of just how fast these incidents go down and how they are nothing like you see in the movies. You’re almost never going to see the sights on your weapon, and might not even see the weapon in your hands. The so called “aiming to wing ’em” stuff that is espoused by so many, simply will not work.

Frank McGee, former head of NYPD’s Firearms Training Unit, liked to say that any armed conflict (involving police, but certainly can be applied to civilians) usually followed the rule of threes; Three shots, three seconds, three yards. This incident went outside of that a bit, but not by much. Williams fired 6 shots in under 2 seconds, and was able to hit his target with two of those shots. The fact that he had his wits about him and was able to distract the suspect long enough to get his own weapon and fire, quite possibly saved his life.

We have always taught that Time = Distance = Options. While distance probably didn’t apply as much here, he certainly bought himself some time, therefore presenting himself with an option that he didn’t have just seconds before.

There is a reason that we teach what we teach, it works in the real world. It’s been proven in combat, it’s been proven in self defense situations, and it is, simply put, the most practical approach to self defense that we’ve seen. Leave the macho attitudes and tactics at the door. You should plan your self defense strategy using proven methods that will afford you every chance to stay out of harms way, allowing you to get home safely.

Self defense is not static. You cannot plan a scenario for every altercation or event that might come up. Self defense is a very dynamic beast and thinking on your feet might just keep you out of danger in the first place, or like Mr. Williams here, give you a fighting chance if conflict is unavoidable.


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