Memphis gas station clerk fights off armed thief

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Most people wouldn't fight an armed robber, but when a man entered a Medical District gas station with a gun, that's exactly what the clerk did.

When a man armed with a gun entered the Exxon at Union and Pauline around 11:45 p.m. Tuesday, Marvell Brown said he was scared, but he stayed calm enough to keep an eye on the thief.

When the thief made a mistake, Brown took advantage.

"Don't try this at home or work," he said.

The thief tried to sneak up on Brown at first.

"And asked to use the bathroom," Brown said. "I told him to go ahead, and as I was walking back around the register, he snuck up on me with a pistol."

He then forced Brown, one of the clerks on duty, to open the safe.

"He told me, 'Just get the F back, get the F back,' so I stand back with my hands like this," Brown said with his hands up.

Brown said the thief grabbed a fistful of money, then put the gun down so he could grab more. That proved to be a mistake, and Brown made his move.

"Soon as he put that gun down, that was the seconds I needed to just really jump on him and level up the playing field," Brown said.

Brown said he tackled the thief, grabbed his gun and threw it across the store.

A struggle ensued, but eventually the robber broke free and got away with most of the money he snatched. Brown said it wasn't much cash.

Police didn't release video of the fight, but they did release video of the robber rifling through the safe.

Brown hopes these images lead to an arrest.

"I'm pretty positive the police will handle it," Brown said.

He also doesn't recommend handling an armed thief the way he did — a risky proposition for most, but Brown used to work security.

"It's another walk in the park for me," he said. "He put his gun down; that's like a rookie thing you're going to do if you run into somebody's business."

Rookie move or not, that was a brave thing for that clerk to do.

The suspect was described by police as a black man with short braids, a medium complexion, 5-foot-5 to 5-foot-7, a slim build and wearing a white t-shirt and black pants. He was armed with a black handgun, police said.

Anyone who may recognize the man in the video or know anything else about this incident should call CrimeStoppers at 901-528-CASH.

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