Hillsborough County

Tampa gas station clerk shoots attempted robber

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) -- A clerk shot an armed man who tried to rob a Tampa gas station early Friday morning.

Police say a suspect walked into the Sunoco gas station on the corner of East Hillsborough Avenue & 34th Street just after 2 a.m. and tried to rob the clerk with a handgun.

But the clerk pulled out his own handgun, firing at the suspect multiple times, hitting him once in the leg.

Police say they found shell casings near the front of the store leading into the parking lot.

"All that we don't know exactly," said Tampa Police Department Lt. Ricardo Urbinas. "What part of it was following a struggle, whether it continued into the store or into the parking lot, all those microdetails, we're still trying to figure all that out."

After the shooting, police said the suspect ran to the Shell gas station nearby, collapsing in the parking lot. The clerk followed him across the street and held him there at gunpoint until police arrived.

"This is sort of typical self-defense stuff," said Lt. Urbinas. "If somebody's threatening you with a firearm, anybody -- a clerk, the general public -- you have a right to defend yourself. And you can use deadly force if you're faced with deadly force."

Both weapons were found in the Shell gas station parking lot. Though it's still early in the investigation, Lt. Urbinas said it looks like the suspect was using a BB gun or pellet gun.

"That doesn't change the facts of the case," said Lt. Urbinas. "The clerk wouldn't have known that when the gun was pointed at his face and he still has a right to defend himself."

The suspect was taken to a nearby hospital with a gunshot wound to the leg and is expected to survive. The clerk suffered minor injuries in the scuffle.

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