On April 28, a man was working his night shift as a store clerk at the Oak Grove Plaid Pantry in Portland, Oregon, when a man entered carrying a hatchet around 1 a.m.
The would-be thief wore dark clothing and a mask and put the 12-inch hatchet on the counter in an effort to threaten the clerk. The quick-thinking clerk pulled out a gun to defend himself and the store and can be seen in surveillance footage calmly calling 911.
The robber then slid the hatchet across the counter and said, “I’m sorry. I’ll leave,” according to KOIN 6.
The store clerk, however, was fired for carrying a weapon.
“The president of Plaid Pantry told KOIN 6 News the stores have a zero tolerance for weapons and the clerk is no longer employed there,” the media outlet reported. “He said employees are trained to de-escalate robbery situations to avoid injury.”
The Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office is asking for help in identifying the suspect, who appears to be a Hispanic male in his early 20s about five-feet-five-inches tall.
“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,” Sgt. Marcus Mendoza said in a news release, according to Fox News.
Mendoza also said surveillance video shows the “suspect got on his knees with his hands in the air, then abruptly fled the store.”
The footage, which can be viewed here, appears to show the attempted robber begging to be let go before he runs from the store and down the street.
Store clerks have used guns to defend themselves previously. Sometimes, their act of heroism against a criminal is met with discipline from their employer. In 2017, The Daily Wire reported that a Circle K employee in Albuquerque, New Mexico was suspended for two weeks after firing at a man attempting to rob the store.
The armed robber, Ferron Mendez, pointed his gun at store clerk Jennifer Wertz. Wertz had decided to carry a weapon because she feared walking to her car alone late at night. When Mendez pointed his gun at her, Wertz fired, hitting the robber in the torso.
Wertz told KOAT that Circle K employees were taught “not to chase or provoke” armed robbers and to “stand there and give them what they want.” Wertz said she was “sick and tired of being a sitting duck. He pointed the gun at my face.”
Wertz also said there had been several other robberies prior to that night, but that Circle K had “done nothing to protect me, so I felt the need to protect myself.”