What would you do: Convenience Store Robbery

You’re on your way home after a volunteer meeting that went very late. It’s now 10:30 p.m., and you have to have the kids to school by 6:00 a.m. for jazz band practice. You’re tired and frustrated with how the meeting turned out and annoyed that the kids waited until 10 p.m. to text that you’re out of milk at home.

You stop at the local gas station/convenience store, thankful that it is brightly lit as you head to the back of the store to grab a gallon of milk and some of your favorite ice cream.

As you close the freezer door, you hear shouting from the front of the store. Through the shelves, you can see the back of a large man waving a knife at the cashier. Even though the assailant is large, the counter is really wide and he cannot reach the cashier unless he throws the knife.

What would you do?


A$$UMeing standard convenience store lay out where the cash register is at the door and the freezer is in the far back corner (Me being me I already know where the cameras are) I’m dialing 911 with my trigger finger so it’s off the trigger and moving to the end of the shelves that terminate in that long isle leading to the cash register put the phone down while connected to 911, take up the best offensively defensive position available and I wait and watch gun pointing in that general direction.

I figure the guy is going to,
a: jump the counter
b: try and do an end around to get behind the counter
c: leave

Given a & b I’m going to yell at him first then let the chips fall where they may depending on his reaction
Given c: I retrieve the phone and be a good witness, description, car, plates, direction etc.




If you are at the rear of the store and he doesn’t realize you are there call 911 and observe. If he lunges over the counter then you would have no choice but to protect the clerk by drawing your firearm and telling him to drop the knife. If he doesn’t and attempts to stab the clerk then you have no choice but to shoot. If I saved her life I could live with that decision.


Call 911 and stay out of it,unless the clerk is attacked. Have weapon ready but by my side so it isn’t visible and doesn’t drive the robber to take action they wouldn’t have if they happen to see me. The money in the store isn’t worth my life, the clerk’s life or the robber’s life.


Just playing devils advocate here, but how do you know that the cashier and guy with the knife 1) Are not working together 2) Might be something else, like a drug deal gone wrong 3) Might be domestic dispute that started earlier…


I don’t assume to know all these things but I would deal with the situation at hand.


It’s not my job to warn an assailant. When I pull I am firing. Since I am a good distance from him I would yell out “Not a Good Idea time to go”. Anything but a retreat from the assailant would be met with force. If you wait until he attacks the cashier you would not have a clear shot.

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@Fred_G Interesting point. For me, in that moment, I’m not sure how I’d be able to tell if it’s a drug deal gone wrong or anything else. All I can see is someone about to get stabbed or viciously assaulted. Not sure if I’d have the time, or the level-headed calmness, needed to assess the unknown context.


Are you willing to go to jail for acting on this? Can you be a good witness? Remember, you have your favorite Ice cream too! My girlfriend said she will be a good witness and call 9-1-1. I would be loud and demanding yelling get the double hockey sticks out of here in a loud, and fearful manner taught to me in the Marine Corps to be a deterrent and deescalate the situation. Then be a good witness while I eat my ice cream.


Draw to low ready and wait at back of store, as far from problem as possible, my next action depends on assailants next action. If he comes to me with knife out or aggressively, he’s getting shot, and as a large man, likely multiple times.

I’m envisioning a pacman scenario of evasion in a confined space. If you have a knife, you gotta catch me. Don’t bring your knife to my gun fight… Or better yet, DO. :slight_smile:

Dawn, as for myself I cant really say what a actions would be until it happened,but in the same respect I hope I would perform as I did in my confrontation,after that is why I am a member here and preferably I would do every thing I could to keep the clerk from being harmed,and hopefully since the perp has a knife and he is looking at the business end of a 45 and the laser is between his eyes he would drop the knife and spread eagle on the floor while the clerk call the LEO. Then again if he had a Pistol,then it is most likely stop his motor forth with.

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Physiologically, a person can not really say what they would do exactly. The variables of your mind set and the setting will have variables that can not be determined until that moment. If practiced in scenario one might have an advantage in this but, attention to details are required to determine the correct actions and there might be multiple correct actions. The lesser force being the best. Acquiring the 9-1-1 call is a must and the first thing to do. Keeping the store clerk safe is another task. Calling out, STOP! DROP THE KNIFE! May deter the knife wielder but it may also make the store clerk a hostage. The store clerk might be in the line of fire as well as anyone else in the store between you and the aggressor. Rule #4 Know what is around your target as well as behind. The guy with the knife is out of reach from the store clerk so, if she gives him the money and your describing him to the 9-1-1, the police are on the way with his description of him. The end of the story is you want yourself safe first, escape or avoid if possible. Be a good witness. Only when there is an Imminent threat of life defend yourself or others. Be Safe out there!


There are a lot of variables to consider, but for the basic situation; I would call 911, position myself where the clerk would not be in the line of fire
I would watch to see what happens.
If the aggressor makes a move to attack the clerk, I would discharge my weapon to stop the threat


Todd30,that is exactly why I do not know what to do until it actually happened, basically I would not have 911 right off the bat,would not want any distractions at all until threat was neutralized one way or the other,it would be up to the clerk to call 911 as far as i am concerned

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Lock myself in bathroom call 911…wait …if I’m safe…wait for police


This is the crux of it for me. I will defend me and mine. The ‘mine’ is not property, but my people, my loved ones. Who I know, and I know their character.

A situation like this is dicey to me. I would not know either of them, and have no idea what is going on beyond what I saw after taking my head out of the ice cream freezer. If it is a simple robbery, is there more than one perp?

I am not a callous person, but I am not a cop. I would try to help in a situation like this if I could, but how far do you go? Watch COPS and see how you think testimony might change if it was an extended domestic situation…

Again, playing devils advocate here. Not saying I would just stand in the back talking to 911, but how do you know what you are getting into?

People often talk about not modding your gun because it could be used against you. Well, what about the testimony of people you don’t know?

Is it a possible liability to involve yourself with possible lethal force with people you don’t know?


I would watch/ call 911 first, gun drawn for convenience. Once 911 was informed I would make my way to an angle where if I fired no one would get injured if possible. (The event is probably over by now, but if not move to next step). If things got even more out of hand, I give him a nice loud chance to remove himself (If he had a gun, I wouldn’t give him the time of day, but in this situation he brought a blade to a gun fight in my eyes). I normally side on the side of staying out of it. Who knows, maybe if this happens for real I will. Unlike some of our other scenarios, If the clerk was hurt because I didn’t react when I could, I’d imagine I would feel somewhat responsible for not acting. That being said, it goes the other way around too. If I escalate a situation that would have just been a robbery. BUT there are cases where people get their money and then kill clerks. It’s rare, but it happens.

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I would get into my car and dial 911 while driving away.


Some of those scenarios would be hard lessons for the two… when you start waving lethal weapons around in a threatening manner, I believe we would be justified in shooting regardless of the scenario. I think the more tragic stories are tweens or teens who cover their face and go in with a BB gun… though it would be justified, I would imagine it would traumatic for the shooter. BUT justified.

Just my two cents… which is probably worth more like half a cent :joy:.

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I love the thoughtful comments here!! Call 911 is my first step personally. Then watch and see what’s going on.

Something you all got me thinking about, are there people around me who would take me drawing my carry weapon as threatening behavior? A lot of people don’t consider a guy or girl with a gun a “good” guy, they instantly see criminal. :frowning: