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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A would-be armed robber got a taste of his own medicine today when the convenience store clerk pulled out a gun of his own. After being held up last month, the clerk vowed to protect himself and be prepared for future threats.

The Wrightsville Country Store is no stranger to robberies. In fact, this is the third time this year that someone has walked through the doors demanding cash. But this time, the robber didn’t walk out.

“I felt sorry for him,” clerk Mark Headstrong said of the man who tried to rob him Thursday morning. “If he had dropped the gun I wouldn’t have shot him, but he did not.”

Headstrong shot the man twice: once in the leg and again in his hand. It was the first time Headstrong had ever fired a gun.

“Half a foot between me and him. Face to face, so I have to protect myself,” Headstrong said.

Headstrong called 911, and the robber was taken to the hospital. He says he realized he needed a gun the last time the store was robbed.

“A month ago, I had Spider here,” he said.

A man wearing a Spider-Man mask held up the store in October, stealing cash and cigarettes. When we spoke to Headstrong in the days after that robbery, he swore that things were going to change.

“I have now heavier tools, I would say,” Headstrong told WWAY October 17. “If they would do that they are going to be shot or we get shot I don’t know how to express this, somebody is going to be hurt.”

The store’s owner believes in protecting all of his employees and gave Headstrong the gun. He’s glad the robber was stopped, but wished for a different ending.

“I wish he had dropped him dead, but he just gave him a second chance,” Musa Agil said. “You cannot give these guys a second chance, because they would not give you a second chance.”

Both Headstrong and Agil hope this failed hold-up is a warning to any future robbers.

“Never again,” Agil said. “Never.”

“Everybody in gas stations, they have guns if anybody try to rob somebody,” Headstrong said. “They should think before they do it.”

No word yet on who the robber is or the extent of his injuries.

Forest Hills Elementary School was on lockdown for a short time after the robbery as a precaution.


Comment on this Story

  • guest111

    Where is this store? I thought I knew but couldn’t find it today. I need some gas. . .

  • Brian

    Meh, he just pulled the trigger a bit too soon.

  • Brian

    Next time there will be more than one of them, and they will probably come in shooting since they know he is armed. They’ll only think twice if they know they will be killed. That didn’t happen, so there’s no fear and they will be better prepared next time.

  • Commonsensenotcommontoday

    …it won’t be safe for the criminal. There is no guarantee that the clerk will not get a shot off and kill the robber. Handgun bullets cause instantaneous incapacitation under very limited circumstances. They are very good at killing a person, but not necessarily very good at preventing him from killing you, too.

    The clerk’s behavior is to be commended and is long overdue. We need to stand up to crime and kill criminals whenever they present themselves.

  • Guest Apu

    I bet now the local criminals will think twice before robbing this store. Either that or a robber will just walk in, shoot the clerk without warning, them empty the cash register…

  • guest6598

    moe should get his employees shotguns that way they will always hit their target.all you punks come on over to the masonboro country store
    moe owns that one to.

  • Guestwho

    True. but hey the guy had never shot a gun before, took some guts for sure just to pull it. Maybe the guy will at least have a permanent limp.

  • erik

    Great job taking another criminal off the streets. My gas money will be spent at your pumps next time I’m in your area.

  • Guest2020

    Will have to stop in the next time I’m in town. Good job fellas.

  • critical mass is not the feet or legs. Still…nice that he shot the perp!

  • Tyler

    If that guy would have pulled a gun on me he would not have left that store alive. That guy is going to do his time, get out of jail, and when he gets out rob again. I just hope the next guy he robs finishes the job…


    That’s what he gets for trying to rob the working man! My main issue is that these idiots have no balls (which is obvious by his bullet wounds) Guess what? You could have robbed a bank, not got shot, and had 100 times more money! IDIOT, hopefully he gets some infection and dies we need to rid the world of stupid people!

  • anne

    Sad story! Although I don’t like to think of someone having to be shot, this thug lost his option for leniency when he walked into the store with a gun pointed. No family member has posted anything about him – how he is a good boy and didn’t mean no harm,, but I beg to differ. When he walked into that store with a gun aimed at the clerk, he gave up his right to expect to walk away with the money and no harm done. Perhaps this painful lesson will teach him something and he will come out of it with a different attitude, but if history shows anything, probably not. A thug is a thug and will always be a thug until he turns his life around.

    As you can see, the citizens of Wilmington are fed up with the thugs creating havoc and trying to take what is not theirs. Now they are arming themselves and you criminals better beware. Just remember – that store you walk into that has a woman or little old man or lady behind the counter – may not be as easy to take as you think. Grandma may be packing!!!!!!!!

  • Guest55

    Well done, Mr. Headstrong.

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