Hatchet-Wielding Thief Flees After Cashier Pulls Out Gun, but What the Store Did Next Has People Outraged

May 25, 2019 Updated: May 25, 2019

A convenience store clerk’s response to a hatchet-wielding thief got himself fired from his job, and now people are outraged.

Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement that the masked suspect walked into an Oak Grove Plaid Pantry in Oregon on April 28 with the intention to rob the convenience store. Before entering, he looked into the windows to check the scene inside. He then proceeded to the store counter and pulled out a 12-inch hatchet from his pants.

In self-defense, the clerk behind the counter pulled out a concealed gun and revealed it to the suspect, as seen in a video released by police.

The clerk appeared to have calmly said a few words to the suspect before he picked up the phone and dialed 911.

The suspect could then be seen pushing the hatchet toward the clerk, placing his hand up in the air, and at one point kneeling on the floor. Police said the suspect reportedly told the clerk, “I’m sorry. I’ll leave.”

After a few moments, the suspect then got up and abruptly ran out of the store. He ran in an eastbound direction on SE Roethe Road, police said.

Authorities and K9s who responded to the scene were unable to locate the suspect.

Although the clerk had foiled the alleged robbery, he was subsequently fired, reported KOIN 6. The president of Plaid Pantry said they had a zero tolerance policy for weapons and employees were trained to de-escalate such dangerous situations to avoid injury.

Many social media users expressed their disbelief that the employee’s actions had cost him his job.

“The employee did indeed ‘de-escalate’ the situation, without violence, and avoided injury, to both himself and the perp,” one social media user wrote.

“Hero loses job after preventing a robbery,” another person wrote.

“It probably saved the cashiers life & the cashier doesn’t need to work for a awful company like that!!! Better job ahead for that cashier!!” another social media user wrote.

“Plaid Pantry fired a store clerk who exercised a constitutional right in defense of himself and store property. Shame on them. But getting fired is better than being dead or seriously injured. Let’s help this guy find a better job,” another wrote.

Police are now looking for the suspect, who has been described as a Hispanic male adult in his early 20s and about 5-foot-5. He was last seen wearing a dark hood, with a dark-green or olive ski mask, khaki pants, and dark sneakers with white soles.

“Were you attempting to rob a Plaid Pantry just before 1 a.m. on April 28? We’d like to reunite you with the hatchet you left behind after the clerk responded with a handgun and a 911 call and you fled the scene,” police wrote in their statement.

Anyone with information on the suspect is urged to contact the Sheriff’s Office Tip Line — by phone at 503-723-4949 or by using the online email form at https://web3.clackamas.us/contact/tip.jsp. Please reference CCSO Case # 19-009740.

Follow Janita on Twitter: @janitakan
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