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Around 2 a.m. Thursday, a few locals were making some late night purchases in a Virginia Beach 7-11 store.
Suddenly the mundane errand turned dangerous when two masked men brandishing guns burst into the convenience store demanding to be obeyed, the Virginian-Pilot’s Robyn Sidersky reports.
Barrie Engel, who owns a nearby cafe happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
She recalled to the Virginia-Pilot that “two gentlemen — armed, masked, robbers — came in the store with their guns up and told us to stay where we were, nobody move… I did exactly that, I pretty much froze and looked at my friend and he looked at me, wondering, ‘Is this really happening? Is this real?’ ”
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Engel and a friend watched helplessly as one of the thieves filled his pockets with cash from the register.
In a dramatic recollection, Engel said:
“I was looking right at him and then I looked at the clerk, and the clerk raised his hands and said ‘Come on man, don’t do this.’ And not sooner than he said that, I heard a gunshot and as soon as I heard the gunshot, I dropped down to the ground and put my hands over my head and started praying because I thought the guy shot the clerk.”
Engel remembers her paralyzing fear in the moment, certain that the robbers would take the lives of everyone in the small convenience store. The Virginian-Pilot reports she said:
“I just started to pray and I feared for my life,” she said. “After that shot it was like three shots, bam, then bam bam. It could have been two, two or three.”
However, much to the Virginian’s surprise, when she looked up, it was one of the robbers who lay dead and not the cashier after all.
The gunshots had been fired by another shopper who had been towards the rear of the store when the thieves burst in. Barrie stated that the man stepped forward and declared:
“Nobody’s gonna point a gun at me and get away with it.”
Police arrived at the scene to find one suspect dead and the other cringing behind the counter suffering from a gunshot wound. Sidersky reports that police further believe that the pair, along with a third suspect, had robbed 4 additional 7-Eleven stores in a similar manner that very same night.
Had it not been for the armed man, the crew may have continued on their crime spree. Police have disclosed that the man was legally licensed to carry a firearm but his name has not been released. There is no information if any charges will be filed against the shooter.
The surviving robber along with the third suspect face charges.
Sidersky further reports that Barrie Engel had previously considered getting a concealed carry permit but had not done so as of the date of the robbery. However, she is grateful for the armed civilian saying:
“Thank God for that guy because who knows what could have happened. I want to thank that guy personally. I want to buy him a steak dinner.”