Convenience store employees turn tables on armed robber

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CLEVELAND -- They fought back.

Two employees inside the Convenient Food Mart on Clark Avenue in Cleveland were determined they would not become victims when an armed robber came in.

The suspect, Frederick Thornton, 26, wearing a hooded sweatshirt, surgical mask and latex gloves pointed a gun directly at the 51-year-old employee behind the register, demanding cash.

Thornton was unaware that there was a second employee working in the back who heard the commotion, and went for the store's gun to help his co-worker.

"Then he snuck up behind there and was like this -- he did not see him and told him to drop your gun, you know what I mean? And he still wants to fight," said Haytham Mustafa, store owner.

The 24-year-old store clerk crept up behind the suspect, struggled to grab his gun, then fired several gunshots into the ceiling as a warning.Thornton pleaded with the store employees not to shoot and said he was homeless.

The employees called 911 and Thornton was arrested at the scene.

Mustafa said, "The way that they handled the situation. I'm proud of them; I'm proud of the employees. God bless them."

Mustafa's store has been a staple in neighborhood since 1999.

Many customers shocked that the crime happened at the store.

Long-time customer, Tamara Perkins said, "Considering it's always popular here and everyone's always coming here, why would you do that?"

Thornton is behind bars, facing a charge of felony aggravated robbery.

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