Store clerk wounds robbery suspect in wild shootout

July 19, 2013 4:21:36 PM PDT
An armed robbery turned into shootout when a convenience store clerk fought back. Police say the clerk not only shot at the suspect, but chased him down. It happened Friday morning on Tidwell near North Shepherd in north Houston.

There were two customers and a total of three employees inside the store when the gun battle started. Police call it intense.

For two years Noman Ali has been manager at the Fuel Expo and Convenience Store. Never before has he thought he might not make it home at the end of his shift.

Ali says around 9am a customer pulled a gun on him and demanded cash. He complied, but as the customer was about to leave he locked the door and fired what he says was a warning shot from his own gun.

"I gave him a warning and after that we shot back and forth and that was it," Ali said.

Police say what followed was an intense gun battle between clerk and robber. The whole thing was caught on some of the store's 24 surveillance cameras.

Investigators tell us the suspect was hit at least three times by the clerk's gunfire before firing his own gun through the front door and escaping. The clerk followed, chasing the suspect to an Acres Homes neighborhood nearby where he crashed his vehicle in a ditch. Eyewitnesses say the man tried to run.

"It's just dangerous, dangerous," said Sherell, who saw it happen. "It could have happened anywhere."

Eyewitnesses say the man was still waving around his gun as he ran. But police tell us because the clerk had called them along the way, they got there quickly and were able to arrest the man.

Store customers say this should serve as a warning to any other would-be robbers.

"This man, he ain't just going to give it away," said customer Wallace Berard. "He's going to fight for his."

Ali says it's not like that.

"I'm not trying to hurt anybody ever," Ali said.

He insists he was only looking out for his customers.

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