Saturday, September 20, 2008

Georgia: Robber Disarmed by Employees

Forrest Park, Georgia

From the First Coast News of September 20, 2008
Robber Disarmed by Employees

Police are praising four employees of a Forest Park, Georgia furniture store for a bold stroke of self-defense, for turning the tables on an armed robber, for risking their lives to disarm and capture the masked man, who had invaded their store Tuesday morning.

"I was basically praying," during the robbery, said the general manager of the business, Carlus Burndette. "And I guess God gave us the power to get an opportunity to get the weapon."

On Thursday, Burndette and the other employees were able to watch the surveillance video of the entire confrontation, and they were thanking God they're alive.

"I was pretty much scared, we didn't know what to do," said Carlus Burndette. "The only thing I was feeling was a bullet, a bullet to hit me" or the others, which. he says, thankfully never happened.

Tuesday morning a man wearing a green mask stuck a handgun in the back of one of Burndette's employees as the employee was entering the front door.

The surveillance video shows the gunman marching the employee inside the store, across the furniture showroom, straight into the office, and then forcing all four employees onto the floor, face down.

Burndette said the gunman threatened to kill everyone.

"At the time he pointed a gun to my face, the only thing I could think of is, you know, just life or death."

The surveillance video shows the man forcing one of the employees to scoop out all of the money from the cash drawer and hand it to him.

"It seemed like he wanted to harm somebody," Burndette said, so they all cooperated at first.

"At the time he got the cash, he did not leave, he just stayed in there. He wanted to shoot someone at that time."

Burndette said the gunman demanded that one of the employees disable the surveillance cameras and give him the video tapes to take with him. And, for a split second, the gunman turned away.

"That's when we had the opportunity to grab the suspect," Burndette said. "The opportunity was that when he actually turned his back, when he asked for the camera, when he approached the guy, when the associate approached and said the tape was not in the camera, in the VCR, that's when he turned his back and was getting ready to, I guess, fire."

Darren Marshall, the store's accounts manager, was the first to grab for the robber's gun.

"Yeah, that's the hero," Burndette said as he watched the video. "This dude here had the heart and the guts to grab that wrist with that weapon inside of it. He was brave enough to approach the guy with the gun still in his hand. Anything could have went off with him trying to reach at that gun."

The video shows the employees finally getting control of the gun and falling in a heap on the gunman, keeping him on the floor until police arrived a few minutes later.

"What the [police] officers said was, 'Oh, Man, job well done,'"

Burndette said with a smile. "I'm glad all my associates are still here, I'm glad we're doing well."

Marshall ended up with a gash and 16 staples in his head from the struggle, but Burndette said Marshall will soon recover and return to work.

Forest Park Police said the gunman is 21-year-old Shawn Henderson of Jonesboro, GA. Henderson had to receive treatment in a hospital for injuries he received in the struggle. He's now in jail, charged initially with: · Armed Robbery · False Imprisonment · Kidnapping · Possession of a Firearm During the Commission of a Felony · Aggravated Assault · Carrying a Pistol Without a License · Battery · Unlawfully Wearing a Mask or Hood in Public

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