Off-duty deputy stops hammer-wielding Family Dollar robbery suspect

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A robber armed with a hammer barged into a North Memphis Family Dollar, but there was someone inside the store he wasn't expecting.

"I was getting some coffee and some items at the Family Dollar at 1688 Jackson," Shelby County Sheriff's deputy Justin Ftizgibbon said.

He was off-duty while shopping Wednesday evening.

"A man came in screaming and demanding money. I heard several loud pops at first like someone was being shot," he said. "I observed a male wearing a gas mask, a beanie, in all-black clothing and a backpack."

Fitzgibbon said he did was he was trained to do.

"The manager thought that the clerk had been shot, so when he was letting all those people out, he was thinking she was dead," he said. "I wasn't nervous. I just reacted. Training kicks in."

The robber reportedly threatened to kill the cashier just before Ftizgibbon drew his gun and announced he was law enforcement. He said he forced the robber on the ground until Memphis police got there.

"He ended up having a hammer," he said. "He smacked it on the counter three or four times. That was the popping we heard."

Memphis Police took Travon Blake into custody. He's now facing a charge of aggravated robbery.

"I`m not a hero. This is something people do every day but don't get recognition for," Fitzgibbon said.

Instead, he wanted to recognize someone else: the cashier.

"She's the hero," he said. "The next day the young lady was back at work trying to make money for Christmas. Make a living. She is the hero. The manager that let people out of the store, she's a hero."

Family Dollar did not have a comment.

MPD said they can't release any video that captured the incident because it's now evidence.

WREG looked at Blake's record. This is the first charge we found.

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