Mark Headstrong, a clerk at a convenience store in Wilmington, North Carolina, had never fired a gun before, but, when a robber pointed a pistol at him, he acted fast and shot his assailant twice.
Surveillance video captures the moment Mark Headstrong pulled out his weapon and fired, dropping 30-year-old Joseph Ryan Anderson to the floor with bullet wounds to his leg and his finger.
But Mark Headstrong’s boss, store owner Musa Agil said his employee should have shot the robber dead: “He should have killed him and this guy was soft on him.”
“He was trying to give him a second chance. Thugs like those should not ever be given a chance, because if that man shot Mark, he’s not going to look at him and give him a chance. That’s why Mark made a terrible mistake by letting him go,” Musa Agil told WWAY news in Wilmington.
This wasn’t the first robbery for either thug or clerk. Joseph Ryan Anderson was convicted of armed robbery in 2002. He has served more than 12 and half years in prison for various crimes.
Mark Headstrong has been robbed twice in the year he’s worked at the Wrightsville Country Store. In the first robbery, he resisted and was bashed in the head. The second time, he gave up the cash drawer without protest.
The in-store cameras show Joseph Ryan Anderson walk into the store wearing a mask and black hood pulled over his head. He draws a gun and points it at Mark Headstrong.
The clerk draws his own handgun. Mark Headstrong, a soft-spoken man, told the Star News of Wilmington that he instructed Joseph Ryan Anderson to drop the gun. But the convicted felon didn’t. Instead, he steps closer to the counter, so Mark Headstrong fired a warning shot into the floor.
The bullet ricocheted and struck Joseph Ryan Anderson in the leg. But the robber still didn’t drop the gun. So, Mark Headstrong, wearing shorts and flip-flops, shoots again, hitting the assailant in the finger.
The robber finally lets go of his silver handgun and falls to the floor.
“I’m sorry, you shot me, man. Please. I’m not going to go nowhere, please,” Joseph Ryan Anderson says as he lay on the floor.
Then the robber starts to plead: “Please, man. Please. Let me go, man.”
An ambulance took Joseph Ryan Anderson to the hospital, where he was treated for the wounds. As soon as he was well enough, police arrested him and charged him with attempted armed robbery and possession of a firearm by a felon.
“You’ll be hailed as a hero,” Musa Agil told his employee during a news conference.
“But you’d be a superhero if you’d dropped him dead.”
Indeed, Mark Headstrong told ABC News his story has inspired waves of new customers at the store, many of whom want to shake his hand and congratulate him for standing up to an armed thug. Some even give him autographs.
But Mark Headstrong isn’t so sure about his new-found fame. He said he is concerned about Joseph Ryan Anderson’s recover and is unsure he wants to stay at the convenience store.