From WRDW of April 14, 2009
Robber gets surprise when pharmacist opens fire
It was a robbery with a big surprise for the robber. A gunman walked into a CVS drugstore expecting to hold up the place. What he didn't expect was to find a pharmacist who had a gun and was not afraid to use it.
The shooting happened just after midnight at the CVS on Walton Way and 15th Street.
Investigators say this isn't the first time CVS has been robbed, but this time was different. A pharmacist fired at the suspect, protecting himself and the store.
The surveillance pictures tell the story. In a matter of seconds a masked robber wearing black enters this CVS Pharmacy and starts demanding money. Clenching a pistol, the robber gives the cashier a bag to fill and then heads towards the back.
"The suspect then asked about the register in the pharmacy and began heading back to the pharmacy," says Richmond County Sheriff's Sergeant Ken Rogers.
But Investigators say the overnight pharmacist, Michael Swindle, heard the commotion, grabbed his gun and made his way out into the store.
"The pharmacist overheard the conversation and realized the store was being robbed and he then grabbed his own 9mm weapon from his bag as he stated and confronted the suspect in one of the aisles," says Sgt. Rogers.
You can see Swindle holding a gun, going from aisle to aisle. The actual confrontation hidden from cameras. But Investigators say it sounds like the suspect was caught off guard.
"When he confronted the suspect the suspect raised his weapon at the pharmacist at which time the pharmacist fired at least three shots at the suspect which caused him to then flee the scene," says Sgt. Rogers.
The robber runs out of the store and Swindle follows after him, still carrying his gun. No one was hit or injured but Investigators say the gunfire was perfectly legal.
"With the suspect raising his arm, pointing the weapon at him -- he was within his legal right to protect himself," adds Sgt. Rogers.
CVS's corporate offices tells News 12 they are working with law enforcement and the case is under active investigation -- both by the Richmond County Sheriff's Office and by CVS.
CVS would not comment on their security policies, including if weapons are allowed by employees.
The suspect was able to get away with some money. He never let go of that purple bag he gave the front cashier and now it's a piece of evidence.