ONLY ON 3: Victimized store clerk gets shooting lessons
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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- You may remember the Wrightsville Country Store clerk who shot a robber in November. Having had no experience with a gun, the store's owner thought it would be a good idea to get Mark Headstrong some training.

“A gun in a person's hand that is not trained is really more dangerous than somebody trying to rob you,” said Matt Rhodes, a concealed carry instructor in Wilmington.

Storeowner Musa Agil gave his employees guns and now he is paying for them all to get properly trained.

“I think we owe it to them, said Agil. “We owe it to them to give them the tools to protect themselves, not only that but to give them the proper training to use those tools.”

“It's an amazing experience to learn how to hold a gun and handle it,” said Headstrong.

The Wrightsville Country Store isn't the only Wilmington business taking this extra step to protect themselves.

“A lot of people have come to me that own businesses from restaurants, to taxi cab drivers, to people that own convenient stores, because they feel at any time they could be robbed,” said Rhodes.

Headstrong says the training has given him the confidence so that next time he finishes the job.

“I'm going to shoot to kill and not to feel mercy on him or whoever,” he said.

With so many armed robberies in Wilmington, Agil says employees should be able to defend themselves.

“I don't think you really want your employees to be sitting ducks and helpless and defenseless,” he said. “I think it would be a major mistake”.

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I have known Mark for many years, and was surprised to see how upset he looked after defending himself during this event. I have been involved with a hold up , it is not an event I would like to relive. At the time, I was thinking, "please don't shoot me", that is it. It is not about the amount of money at all, as an employee, it isn't technically your money. It is about getting this drugged out or otherwise desperate POS away from your body. Without training, give up the cash. With training, stop this thug from carrying out his mission. In my case the man came back 2 weeks later, to everyone's surprise. The store owner ended the mess- equaling a five year sentence. These types don't stop until they are jailed or dead (Spider-man). I always thought I knew what I would do, until it happened. I would have no problem stopping a person dead in their tracks to save a fellow citizen from the nightmares of armed-robbery. That fear can ruin a life. Thankfully, mine was changed for the better.

Being a store owner myself, I am not proud of carrying guns or arming the people that work for us, but can you imagine being a victim yourself. What are the options here: hand over the money that we keep, which is no more than fifty dollars, or fight back? What assurances do we have that we will not get shot after all? I personally remember a single father of three who had a store at 7th and Ann St., who cooperated with the demands of an armed robber 4 years ago, to be shot after that in the heart, leaving behind three orphaned children. Also, it is not to defend or protect our "pot of gold." There is no pot of gold here; we are barely keeping the lights on. You do not have to fear law-abiding citizens carrying means to protect themselves, but fear guns in the hands of hardcore convicted felons. If we have to shoot one of them, we will be asking God for mercy every second of our lives. Somebody has to take a stand. Today our stores, tomorrow your cars, and the day after, your home. You should not boycott the store, but provide them with your support. You should question our legal system that dumps convicted felons armed with deadly weapons, terrorizing our streets and neighborhoods

Don't get me wrong. I have done that type of work for ten plus years but it's some things he said I don't feel safe going in there can he guarantee me that his training is that good wit that gun that he can protect everyone caught in the crossfire a bullet has no name on it! He sounds reckless

With our shattered legal system and courts I am all in favor of protecting yourself and taking care of your own business. God knows the courts don't do it. I am all in favor, also, of protecting yourself. Don't get me wrong. My one concern is this. . . what if the thugs and cretins start coming into these stores shooting first and stealing the money and/or registers second? I'm seriously afraid it will come to that. Lord, I hope not.

I've been torn on this issue. I'm all in favor of store clerks protecting themselves. Many thugs may think twice before attempting to rob what up until recently has been an easy target. However, the more hardened type of criminal might just start shooting as soon as they come through the door. Either way, the job of being a convenience store clerk just became a lot more dangerous.

OK enough is enough!!!!! You were robbed come on. OK you took a class and in that class they tell you the laws also. You just made the comment "I will shoot to kill have no mercy!" For one I would not like to be caught in the store during the shoot out! You are a fool! I have been in the store. And the attention he has received has made him feel popular like he wants you to ask about the robber and talk and talk. Come on you just let anyone that would try you know your move! Sometimes it's good to stay out the headlines and just do what you have to!! You are not a smart store clerk /owner. U lost me and my family business you sound like a reckless person the more you are interviewed or I here you talk about it!!!!

So boycott it, I don't think they will go out of buisness because of you. You a little upset at the attention he is recieving? Jealous? Sure are!! You sound like a whiney little girl.

I can voice my opinion. And let's not forget Wilmington is a small town and family do stick together and family sizes are large. Jealous for what. I have more than one job(self employed) a car. O and have a gun with a permit(for many years) and what, but just cause crime bad I don't act like that. And I don't want anyone to know what I have anyway that invites trouble. And for your info I am a strong, independent woman. I don't need to be in the spotlight to shine baby. I does it all the time.SMOOCHES!!!!!!!!!!

Didn't america train him as well to finish a job. Yeah, lets put more weapons in arab hands especially right here in ole little wilmington, nc. Instead of training for more gun shooting, how about both the owner and clerk go seek some psychological counseling for wanting to hurt anyone that dares look suspicious in their store. I say people boycott and dont go in their store to risk getting shot at!

Just remember, those Arabs are American law-abiding citizens. To equate them to Osama Bin Laden is not only an insult to them, but to all Americans who represent 186 nationalities. If your ancestors were living today, they would not appreciate somebody like you when they first immigrated to this country. You have no right to question the loyalty and patriotism of other Americans. I do not know how you sleep at night, by picking on other Americans who do not look like you, but could be your best neighbors and friends.

You are not comprehending anything you read. Be quiet.

No you didn't just post that! Stupid Redneck Ignorant thing to say! Those are very nice people and they are just as American as you are!

Just remember, when seconds count during a robbery.....the police are only minutes away.

You said seconds count. . they are only minutes away. What does that mean? How do you think that will help? You think the thugs are going to let him use the phone to call 911?? Yikes!

has more intelligence than you apparently do.

That means don't wait or depend on police to protect yourself. It means when seconds count, it will take minutes for the police to respond. If more people start killing these worthless thugs, they may start to question their way of live.

Finally the voice of wisdom and experience creeps into the conversation. Mr. Rhodes "A gun in the hand of the untrained is more dangerous than being robbed" Thank You Sir.
Lets imagine that robber approaches Mr Headstrong an pulls a gun and says give me the money. Mr. H. goes for his tool? and robber shoots him. Mr. H. now wounded tries to defend himself and fires back but misses and the little girl at the candy counter takes the bullet and is dead! Robber flees. Mr. H is taken to hospital where he dies in three days. Question for Mr. Agil, do you pay the hospital bill,do you take care of Mr.H family and how about his funeral. Also do you have insurance to cover your business since you armed Mr. H and ordered him to protect your pot of gold. My guess is that Mom and Dad of little girl just got the keys to your curb market.
Most policemen never encounter face to face gun to gun situations. When these rare moments occur there is most often questions about how they handled themselves and these are highly trained professionals. Its is madness to support this activity from store clerks.

...is being so spineless that you cave in and cower to criminals. Many, MANY victims have been killed by robbers simply for the thrill of it or because there wasn't enough money in the till.

The other day you took issue with law abiding citizens carrying firearms. Today it's store clerks defending their lives.

What happened in your life to make you so friggin' scared of guns in the RIGHT hands?

Again wow. Hope you know your maker. "Untrained" is the key word in your lay down and die diatribe. The guy is seeking training. How responsible is that? Have you trained to be a victim? When is the last time you clerked at an all night convenience store? You pluck one twenty word sentence to somehow support your point but AGAIN the guy is seeking training! That's funny. Did you read beyond the sentence that supports your view?

Having been in this industry these recent events really scare me for all the clerks in convenience stores. When most of the convenience stores were owned by chains, clerks were forbidden to have weapons and, if robbed, were told to hand over the money. Stores had drop safes and there was usually less than $100 in the cash register. Now, many of these stores have been sold to independent operators who are arming clerks. So you are paying a clerk $8 an hour and you want him to pull a gun to protect your money. What has saved many a clerk in the past was the knowledge by the robber that they were unarmed. I would suggest that those store owners that want to arm their clerks pay them a hefty amount of the store's profits or stand guard yourself.You may notice that the stores in the article are all in high crime areas. Why doesn't the owner hire security guards?

It is the other way around chain stores are driving the Mom and Pop stores out of business they never say thank you remember this cuontry was built by the small business .when the last time you were told thank at Wall-mart

"Headstrong says the training has given him the confidence so that next time he finishes the job.
“I'm going to shoot to kill and not to feel mercy on him or whoever,” he said."
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I'm all for defending yourself against immediate threats and I agree that anyone who owns a gun should be properly trained to use it. That includes knowing the laws. What Headstrong said could be considered premeditation and it's all on the web for everyone (especially the prosecuting attorneys) to see and use against him in potential criminal and/or civil suits. Like every other irresponsible gun owner, this guy gives responsible gun owners a bad reputation.

Not sure why your upset about the statement. In NC if you pull your weapon as a cop or private citizen you should shoot to kill and not just injure someone. When you fire your weapon you are saying that deadly force was needed to protect yourself or someone else. As for the clerk and how he did on the first go around i would say he faired pretty well with no experience with a weapon. Most cops dont even hit thier target at that range in the same situation.

There is not a jury in the nation that would prosecute a store clerk for deep-sixing a robber.

Sounds great to me. If the situtation was reversed, do you think that robber would have thought twice about killing the clerk? Clearly the people upset about this have never been robbed, had their homes or businesses broken into, or been put in a position where they HAD to defend themselves. IT'S CALLED THE CASTLE DOCTRINE- LOOK IT UP.

I am delighted, thrilled even to hear that this concerned store owner is taking the appropriate steps to protect himself, his employees and his property.

It is high time that these street thugs learn that a life of crime could end up with their life being taken.

When these scumbags decide to take from honest, hardworking people that it could be a life sentence for them. And if it turns out that way then good riddance! Live by the sword, die by that sword. :)

Headstrong says the training has given him the confidence so that next time he finishes the job. “I'm going to shoot to kill and not to feel mercy on him or whoever,” he said.
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so convenience store owners are now training armed mercenaries to do battle on our streets? Is our local government fully approving of this trip back to the days of the wild west or what? Sounds like we desperately need a new police chief...

Well, it sure seems so with the continued, geometric influx of illegals lolly-gagging about us like they are supposed to be here. Other than that fact, your statement makes you portray yourself as a complete idiot. Good going Carter...

Umm, no. They are receiving training to defend themselves against criminals. Sounds like you desperately need to step away from the bend over and take it liberal mindset.

When an armed robber approaches you with a weapon, you are legitimately in fear of death or grievous bodily injury. You have a legal right to take whatever steps are needed to eliminate that threat, up to and including killing the robber. That is state law - it has nothing to do with the chief of police.

BTW, how do you think the West became "un-wild?" Ever hear of what happened to the Dalton Gang in Coffeyville? There were hundreds of similar events. The most certain way to stop crime is to kill the criminal, and if you are within your legal right to do it, you're a fool not to.