Thranh Nguyen packs a Kahr PM45 on his hip while working at DC Gas on south Broadway. Nguyen said he believes he has not been robbed is because the word on the street is that he carries a handgun.

Police: Store clerks have right to defend themselves

by Hurst Laviana The Wichita Eagle  |  published on December 2, 2012


When a would-be robber was shot to death in a North Broadway convenience store on Thanksgiving night, it was at least the sixth time since 1985 that would-be robbers have been killed by store clerks or store owners in Wichita.

Four of the six shootings have occurred at businesses on North Broadway, three at the same liquor store.

Prosecutors have ruled that the five earlier shootings were ruled justifiable, and they said an initial review of the Thanksgiving night shooting does not indicate that there was any criminal wrongdoing by the clerk.

Capt. Brent Allred said store owners and clerks are generally encouraged to comply with the demands of an armed robber.

“But legally they’ve got every right to carry a firearm in their store and use it to defend themselves,” he said.

Prosecutors said state law affords no special rights to business owners who use deadly force, and they say there can be consequences for doing so. In Nebraska, a clerk at an Omaha Kwik Shop went to prison after shooting a shoplifter in the back while trying to make a citizen’s arrest.

The latest Wichita shooting occurred at about 7:30 p.m. Nov. 22 at the KC Gas & Groceries, 1161 N. Broadway, when two would-be robbers walked into the store with pellet guns. An accomplice waited outside.

One of the robbers went under the counter, pushed the clerk and began to take money from the register, police said. During a subsequent scuffle, police said, the clerk pulled a gun from behind the counter and fired at least one shot that hit one of the robbers.

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