From the South Coast Today of November 25, 2008
Clerk with handgun turns tide on would-be robber
Police said Tyrone Lamb, 26, of New Bedford was armed with a knife when he tried to rob a clerk at a North End convenience store last weekend.
Around 2:45 p.m. Saturday, Mr. Lamb allegedly walked into the Petro Mart at 171 Coggeshall St.
The suspect wore a gray sweatshirt with the hood pulled over his head. He asked for a pack of cigarettes but did not take out cash. He kept his hands in his pockets and skulked around the store.
The clerk, Antoine Khalife, knew something was going to happen.
"I had a bad feeling," said Mr. Khalife, a Petro Mart employee for seven years. "He was really suspicious."
The suspect walked to the counter and pulled a switchblade from his pocket. He held it to Mr. Khalife's face and demanded money, according to police reports.
Unfazed, the clerk stepped back from the counter.
"I was waiting for him," he said.
Instead of opening his register, Mr. Khalife drew a .40-caliber Sig Sauer handgun from a holster hidden in his coat. The tables had turned as the clerk ordered the man to drop his knife.
"I don't think he was expecting that," Mr. Khalife said. "His face lit up like a Christmas tree. His eyes were about three times their size."
The suspect backed off and said, "I'm sorry." He turned around and ran out of the store.
Mr. Khalife said he followed the suspect outside and yelled at the man as he entered his getaway car.
Meanwhile, a man scratching lottery tickets inside a nearby parked car looked outside his window and saw Mr. Khalife walking outside the store, holding a handgun, court records said.
Mr. Khalife saw the suspect leaving in a green Mercury Sable. He noted the vehicle's license plate number and called police. Later, he reflected on the suspect's brazenness.
"The thing that threw me off was that this happened in broad daylight," he said. "People were on the street and pumping their gas. But he didn't care."
Police tracked the suspect's license plate to a Roswell Street residence. Relatives there told police that Mr. Lamb drove the vehicle, according to police reports.
Police obtained an arrest warrant for Mr. Lamb after Mr. Khalife identified him from a photo array as the robbery suspect, court records said.
Mr. Khalife has a valid license to possess the handgun, police said.
"You can't confuse vigilance with vigilantism," New Bedford police spokesman Lt. Jeffrey P. Silva said.
"This was a lawful gun owner who, when confronted with deadly force, responded to save his life and, in the end, helped us to solve a crime."
Mr. Lamb turned himself in to police Sunday. He told detectives he did not rob the convenience store. He later asked police to explain the legal differences between attempted and actual armed robbery, and if he would serve more time in jail, court records said.
Mr. Lamb has a prior robbery conviction, police said. He was arraigned Monday on charges of armed assault with intent to rob, attempt to commit a crime and assault by a dangerous weapon.
He was held on $7,500 cash bail and ordered to return to court Dec. 22 for a probable cause hearing.