Two would-be robbers in California targeted the wrong pawn shop on Tuesday, sparking a shootout that left both robbers and a store clerk with non-life-threatening injuries.
Two men entered the Seventh Street Pawn Shop around 2 p.m. in Victorville, Calif., and pretended to be interested in a gaming system and a gun on display, according to ABC 7. Authorities have yet to release the details of the incident, but in the ensuing minutes the suspects attempted to rob the store at gunpoint.
Seventh Street Pawn is known for its “extensive gun selection,” and at least one of the employees was armed.
“Especially with a pawn shop that actually sells guns, that’s pretty stupid,” Aaron Heckenlaible, the owner of a nearby pawn shop, told CBS Los Angeles. “But, you know, sometimes people don’t think about what they do.”
After the suspects drew their firearms, a gun battle ensued in which both robbers and a clerk were injured. While none of the injuries proved life-threatening, one of the suspects was air-lifted from the scene to the hospital.
California is well-known for its restrictive gun control laws, but the owners and employees of the pawn shops in Victorville value their right to self-defense with a firearm.
The injured clerk’s sister, Casey Clayton, posted on Facebook saying, “We are so grateful that all the employees were carrying weapons and were able to defend themselves.”
Aaron Heckenlaible told CBS he was not surprised by Tuesday’s robbery. “It’s just part of the business. It happens. We’re always prepared for it,” he said.
Heckenlaible said he and his employees are armed and would not think twice about using their guns if the shop were robbed. “I wouldn’t hesitate. I assume if they’re coming in to rob me, they’re going to come in and kill me. So I am going to defend my life. That’s just how I look at it. I’m going home. That’s how I look at it. I’m not going to get shot and killed at the store,” he explained.
Heckenlaible explained to ABC 7 that he doesn’t expect criminals to abide by California’s strict gun control laws, which is why he and his employees have to be prepared to defend themselves.
“Usually pawnshops are in bad areas as it is, so we have to be armed because the criminals are armed. They don’t abide by laws so we’ve got to make sure we’re armed. I have at least four mags on me, extra mags at all times,” Heckenlaible said.