Store Clerk Shoots Robber, Gets Suspended Two Weeks

“I’m sick and tired of being a sitting duck,” Jennifer Wertz told a reporter. When she heard reports of an armed robber nearby, the Albuquerque gas station clear retrieved a gun from her car. Not long after, an armed robber barged into her store and pointed a gun at her. Shen then used hers to shoot him in the chest.

While most gun owners would applaud her action, Circle K reacted by placing her on a two week suspension. Company policy at Circle K, like many chains, says employees should never resist robbers. Wertz, who cares for her three kids and a disabled mother, didn’t want to wait to see what the man pointing a gun at her would decide to do.

WBRC has the story:

A gas station worker has been suspended for two weeks for shooting a robbery suspect. But in an interview, the worker said she’s sticking to her guns.

“I grabbed my gun from my pocket, I cocked it, and I shot,” said Jennifer Wertz, who shot the robbery suspect. “I’m sick and tired of being a sitting duck.”

In front of the Circle K near Eubank and Candelaria, Wertz said on Tuesday that she didn’t hesitate to shoot a man who ran into the store on Monday. “He like stepped into the door and pointed the gun at me. I reacted,” she said. Police say she hit 23-year-old Ferron Mendez in the chest. He’s expected to live.

Ms. Wertz described Circle K company policy in more detail.

“We are not to chase. We are not to provoke. We are not to do anything. We just stand there and give them what they want and they leave,” Wertz said.

Does that mean employees are supposed to stand there and take a bullet or a knife without resisting as well?

Ms. Wertz says she’s looking for a new job now. Surely some business owner in or near Albuquerque would appreciate a clerk with her fortitude and gumption, someone who won’t roll over for two-bit hoodlums without a fight.

 

 

 

106 Responses to Circle K Store Clerk Shoots Armed Robber, Gets Two-Week Suspension – Defensive Gun Use of the Day

    • The OK stire just like 7-Eleven , Quick Trip or Racetrac has no concern for the safety of their employees, only the bottom line that an injury lawsuit from a bereaved criminal’s family can bring.

      • You say that as though such a lawsuit is a trivial matter. Even out of court settlements for a smoke checked two bit thug can reach upwards of a million dollars. A protracted lawsuit, with its attorney fees and uncertain, unbounded jury verdict potential, could cost much more. Who do you think pays for that?

        What stores could have been opened and what employees could have been hired, but wouldn’t, for having to pay out to the “victim’s” family? It’s fun to cast companies as villains on blogs, I understand, but the reality of these cases is more complex.

        • True. Seems like they could be much simplified by a rather simple law stating that if your injuries are a direct result of your commission of a felony, your case is tossed in the crapper instantly. Amidst raucous sounds of horselaugh.

      • Back when Kevlar body armor became a thing I tried to sell vests to local 7-eleven’s. I told the managers, just buy one, hang it in the back office and let the clerk decide if they want to wear it under their smock. Not one of them would buy it to protect their employees. One manager told me “I don’t want to give my people the idea that’s dangerous to work behind the counter.” Riiight, as if they didn’t already know they’re sitting ducks. Back then a level II vest cost a paltry $100, apparently too much to pay to save a life.

    • She probably does need to shut up. That said, if this made the news I wouldn’t be surprised if someone picks her up to work at their store. There are even stores in Chicago that don’t take that shit. This year alone they had a T-mobile franchised store and a convenience store robbed where the perps got ventilated and the management backed them. Hell, the convenience store had been the site of a similar event a year or two earlier. The T-mobile robbers made it to the hospital, the convenience store robbers in both cases got to visit the morgue up close and personal.

        • Didn’t know that. Maybe getting shot in the junk will send a strong message to the fellow that taking what is not yours is rather impolite, and has consequences far more than what the DAs in that region are willing to dish out.

    • True. Is the suspension a cop style paid vacation or a without ?

      Big difference in what the employer is actually saying if it is a vacation vs punishment

  1. If an employer insists that you cannot defend yourself then they better provide security so you don’t have to. I think she should sue the hell out of Circle K for failing to provide a safe and secure work site.

    • i can get behind that lawsuit. the store obviously knew it was a dangerous environment, as evidenced by them having a policy in place ahead of time on ho to respond to an armed robbery. I wonder if there might not be an OSHA violation in that to for hazardous work space.

      “Does that mean employees are supposed to stand there and take a bullet or a knife without resisting as well?”

      speaking from experience the answer is yes. when i worked security i was told by multiple managers that in the event of an active shooter at the workplace, or other workplace violence, i was expected and paid to be a bullet,knife, blunt object sponge for them and the company

      • ‘I wonder if there might not be an OSHA violation in that to for hazardous work space.’

        OMG, it was all I could do to keep the beer off my keyboard on that one!

      • OSHA is no friend to independent thought or action on the part of a peon, I mean employee. They’d likely fine her for having a dangerous weapon.

    • Sue them for failing to provide a safe work site. Well like Fiun dagner said, they had to know the work site was dangerous, they did have a policy and they ALLOWED a guy to walk in the store unimpeded and point a gun at her. Nobody there to stop it, she was on her own. And if she had followed company policy, she would have been defenseless. HELL yes sue em. If an employer wants to require people to disarm themselves they should be responsible for their safety while they are on the clock. If OSHA can have what…, three hundred pages of regulations on ladders, they ought to have a few that says an employer should be responsible for preventing a thug from walking in the door and committing armed robbery after you have been disarmed.

    • The worst thing about this corporate policy, leaving out the fact that the bright boys who wrote and enforce the policy will NEVER be standing behind one of those counters facing a hoodlum desperate enough for cash that he will resort to robbing convenience stores and gas stations, is that those same hoodlums all know that this corporate policy exists and that these businesses are for all intents and purposes “Gun Free Zones” so long as there is no one inside except the clerk.

      They might as well just have a hundred dollar bill available next to the register so when their robber comes in they can just hand it to him and send him on his way a happy camper.

      • They’ve probably never been in one of the stores much less worked in one.

        Once you get lawyers and HR perps involved in writing policies for the people on the front line, all common sense goes down the toilet.

    • Wrong. She’s a grown woman. She applied for the job, went through their orientation and training, signed their employee handbook, abd accepted the job with those terms. Nobody put a gun to her head.

      No fair going crying to the government, after the fact, to impose new and retroactive restrictions to reward her unjustly. Geez, you’re demanding that the government put a gun to the company’s head to give her better terms now than she and the company had mutually agreed upon at the outset.

      What kind of liberal, freedom infringing snatching, statist are you?

      • I’m sure she can take a 2 minute break to pee without being suspended for 2 weeks, why can’t she take a 10 second break to protect her own life? She didn’t (apparently) refuse to give him all the money in the register, she simply refused to have a gun pointed at HER.

      • Nobody put a gun to her head.

        Except, of course, for the guy who walked in the store and pointed a gun at her head.

        But, given the results, she might as well have jumped in her car and gone to a restaurant for a sudden meal break as to retrieve a gun from her car and go back to work. Nothing but a misplaced sense of employee duty forced her to go back in the store at a time when she felt unsafe to be there without a gun.

  2. I just read this article to some co-workers outside. Then we discussed how our fuel kiosk has “bullet resistant” glass, and probably wouldn’t do much to help you out. Our employer also does not allow firearms on the premises, on or off the clock, in or out of uniform.

    I carry every single day.

        • I’d rather give the cops my version of the story rather than the perp. You need to survive the encounter to.do so.

        • I’ve thought that through a bunch, and if it comes down to me having to use the gun, it’s absolutely going to be to save my own or someone else’s life. That way, when the inevitable termination comes, I can go to the media and tell them they fired me for saving someone’s life. That’s the plan anyway. If that doesn’t work, jobs are not the most difficult thing to acquire, and I’m sure someone will notice my name if it becomes that big of an issue.

    • I have visited enough of the stations you describe to know that it does not take much of a ruse to get the clerk to come out of his box, but the problem with bullet-resistant glass in these places is that it works from both sides. Just sayin’.

      Watch out for ricochets.

      • I don’t personally have to deal with the box of shame, so it’s not a huge deal to me. It’s also a couple hundred yards from the main building, which sorta had me pushing for those people to “protect themselves however they deem necessary”.

    • You make your own decisions, Jon. I can’t argue against that. What I would suggest, though, is that while concealed means concealed, it also implies silence.

      Don’t tell people at work, or others who know you personally, that you carry against company policy. All it takes is one embittered in-law, neighbor, customer, vendor, or co-worker to drop a dime on you and get you fired.

  3. ‘Police say she hit 23-year-old Ferron Mendez in the chest. He’s expected to live.’

    I guess every silver lining has a cloud.

    Where’s the go-fund-me page? She deserves a two week paid vacation.

  4. So easy, the store should assume full liability for requiring their employees to be defenseless.

    They will NEVER do that, so it will solve these legal catch-22’s that employees find themselves in.

    Any location that forces a citizen to disarm, should be forced to bear the consequences of that decision. This includes, courthouses, post offices, etc.

    • They do “bear the consequences.” It’s called worker’s compensation, where the payout on a dead employee is less than the payout on a lawsuit by a customer getting shot by one of the clerks.

    • Except, nobody forced anyone to be defenseless. The company offered a job under these terms and the employee voluntarily accepted the job under these terms. Don’t go abusing the language to merge the meanings you desire with the reality you deny.

  5. Hope she gets a better job! Andrew is right-there seems to be a sea change in Chicagoland. Ho hum-self defense and a another felon is toast…folks get tired of the lowlife BS.

    • Small businesses don’t have armies of lawyers, consultants, bean-counters, and other professional oracles of PC telling them which policies to adopt, unlike big businesses. Small business people have to live in the real world.

    • You’re more likely to shoot yourself or someone else accidentally (read: negligently) on the job than you are to be shot by a robber. The company is doing the right thing overall by banning guns and avoiding liability for an employee’s incompetence.

      But, hey, maybe you’re on to something. Since gun owners do commit negligent discharges, perhaps we should mandate liability insurance for all gun owners?

      • Statistics still don’t override someone’s right to protect themselves. Most people understand how to take precautions (proper holster, on body carry, etc.) to avoid self-inflicted injuries.

        Considering the hundreds of millions of guns and the millions of CCW holders, the number of accidents is already incredibly small. A statistical improbability worth living with if you ask most people.

        I know you’re a troll, I couldn’t help responding as if you weren’t.

      • Tell that BS to the four people murdered by a druggy in the Pharmacy near where I live on Long Island.
        Even though he could have left with the drugs he chose to kill everyone in the Pharmacy.

  6. Just sent Circle jerk K corporate an email expressing my displeasure at the firing of this young lady. As well to inform them I will never be a customer again. I ask that everyone do likewise Pass this article on to everyone you know so they can boycott all Circle K’s nationwide.

    • As large as they are I doubt Circle K will feel much or care much about a threatened boycott. Better to pass the article around with the link to the gofundme page.

      As for me, I have boycotted Circle Ks for many years since they were all using gas supplied from Venezuelan oil. I don’t know if they still do, since I never go there and if they do they seem to have stopped bragging about it.

  7. Circle “Jerk” K boycott time until they re-hire her, promote her, and issue a formal apology to her, her children, and its customers for its outrageous and disgusting behavior, that is in total disrespect to the natural rights of all.

  8. I rarely post…this pisses me off. I sent corporate a nasty-gram. Circle K is in my region and they will never see another cent and I don’t really boycott much (Target since i have 2 daughters, Shell for South Africa apartheid, and now these idiots). Please share the gofundme even if you can’t afford to share yourself….and i pretty much don’t forgive

  9. I think it’s great that she was able to shoot the perp and not get hurt or killed in the process.

    But if somebody, anybody, had a gun pointed directly at me, and I had a choice between compliance and drawing my own weapon, I’m not sure that I would draw my own weapon. I’ve got to clear my holster and bring my weapon to bear, and all the other person has to do is squeeze the trigger on their own weapon. Those are not good odds.

    Now if I noticed that the other weapon was single action and not cocked, or the safety was obviously engaged, then I would most likely draw and fire. I would also draw and fire on anybody stupid enough to bring a knife to a gunfight. But otherwise, I think I might just take my chances with compliance.

    Discuss.

    • One type of situation I would note with these ‘stop & robs’.

      If the robbers try to remove you or customers to a back room, or say they’re just going to tie everyone up, maybe take someone hostage, it’s time to fight.

      Do what you have to in order to win at all cost.

      • Every situation is differemt, so it is often hard to know what is the right move in any scenario. But, if I recall correctly, the stats suggest if the bad guy want to move his victims to a back room, tie them up, or take them away in a vehicle, he is likely going to kill the victims.

    • IdahoBoy,

      When someone is already pointing a firearm at you at point blank range, you are in a dire situation. They may very well shoot you if your resist. And they may very well shoot you if you comply.

      Personally, I would move as fast as possible, most likely moving away from the armed robber toward cover/concealment while trying to draw. Remember, it is much harder to hit a moving target than a stationary target. Furthermore, you can move quite a bit in the 1/2 second or more that would be the armed robber’s reaction time, easily 8 inches or so. That could be the difference between the robber delivering a fatal shot to the middle of your chest and a far less serious shot to your side.

      Last but not least, I am also counting on the fact that armed robbers’ guns do not work something like 43% of the time. Between that and moving, I feel like I have a pretty good chance of surviving.

      • ‘Last but not least, I am also counting on the fact that armed robbers’ gu ns do not work something like 43% of the time.’

        Until they remember to rack the slide.

      • I think years ago you had a better chance of surviving a robbery by complying than you have today.
        Today’s robberies are typically by desperate drug addicts maybe even under the influence. They don’t think of consequences and have no regard for life. As I responded to an earlier TROLL four people were murdered over some pills in a Pharmacy for no reason. I also recall reading on this site about Pizza clerk killed during a robbery. So the bottom line IMO is to do whatever necessary to survive. Comply at your own risk.

    • Every situation is different, but a nearly constant advantage you’ll have is the element of surprise. Scumbags don’t expect armed resistance and are likely to hesitate when faced with it. I figure you can usually feign like you’re reaching for your wallet and by the time the BG figures out that’s not a billfold he’ll have 3 holes in him. At any rate, if he’s holding the weapon sideways I’ll take my chances.

    • Expanding on the Governor’s response:

      Reaction time is a thing. For an average person who is paying attention and looking for stimulus and unaffected by drugs or any other performance degrading condition, this is about .7 seconds. As I recall from my training it was possible for me, after only a day of practice, to draw from concealment and put two shots center mass at 5 yards in 1.75 seconds. If you add movement to the mix which means the bad guy will not only have to react to your movement, but track your new location and decide to fire his weapon, your odds of getting a shot off at a known target is better than you might think.

      Convenience store robberies tend to take place at VERY close distances. The perp is expecting and hoping for the compliance advertised by corporate policy and is hoping that and his pistol will mean you will not resist.

      All these things considered, if you are properly armed, that is, on-body carry, condition one (bullet in the chamber ready to fire) and of sufficient caliber to get the job done, moving even slightly out of the line of fire, especially if there are obstructions to his aiming his gun directly at you, should take him by surprise. While he is reacting to the unexpected movement you have the opportunity to draw and fire and at bad breath distances your speed and violence of action, since you have the INTENTION to shoot as soon as you clear Kydex and get the muzzle on target, will give you some advantage over the startled perp who is trying to come up with a new plan since the original has failed so miserably. YMMV.

      “Get a shot off fast. This upsets him long enough to let you make your second shot perfect.” Robert A. Heinlein, “The Notebooks of Lazarus Long”

    • I complied and the robbers still beat the crap out of me. And I had to go back in 2 days cause no one else would work. I did not even get asked if I was okay from circle k. Just that I did my job.

  10. Updates according to the local radio station:

    1. She was fired last night.

    2. Today, someone from Calibers (a local gun store and shooting range, two locations) offered her a job.

    Which might have better pay, probably will have better hours, and certainly will be a more supportive environment in which she can mentally recover from the stress. Plus, if any of the criminal’s family or friends (or himself, when he gets out of the hospital) decides to try for a little payback, she’d be in a much better place for it to happen.

    • Calibers is a semi-upscale shop and range. Decent place, fairly nice people, though I don’t shop there often (did buy my gun safe from them, though). They’ll treat her like a freaking hero there, as they should.

        • “CircleJerkClerk shoots armed robber center mass, takes job at machine gun dealer. Film at 11.”

          I like that news teaser, oh, yes, I do.

  11. Use to talk to the Circle K clerk at the store up the street from me some years back and expressed some concern about the fact that they left her alone on the night shift. She smiled and pulled up her shirt enough to show her gun and said “Well, I do have my little friend.” She moved on after she finished school, and the place got bought out a couple of years back. It would suck to loose your job, but that obviously beats getting kidnapped or murdered.

    I always thought those vest things they make them wear would do a good job covering up a gun.

  12. Albuquerque has earned the moniker *Burquestan* for a reason. Currently, Albuquerque is #1 in the nation for auto theft, and is hands down the most dangerous place to live in a state ranked #2 in the nation for violent crime.

  13. I’m boycotting Circle K and taking my business elsewhere, and I hope everyone who reads this article does the same. The most important way gun owners can push back against corporate violations of our Natural Rights is to boycott the companies that are anti-gun. There are always pro-gun alternatives and even if you pay a bit more you’re investing in your RKBA by doing so!!

  14. I’ll stick to my Ideal Marts. Never been to the local Circle K here since gas is cheaper at the Ideal and the clerks rarely notice or care if I’m carrying.

  15. Circle k doesn’t care about their employees AT ALL. All they care About the money they can make from the store been open 24 hours a day. We should be allow to have a gun or something to defend ourselves against the robber. What would happen if the person try to hurt us cause we can give them or they don’t get enough of something? Than what happen? We can die!! Or worst!? If circle don’t want us to get a weapon or something to defend ourselves than they need to have a police at the store like sheets gas does. We don’t need to be sitting ducks waiting on some crazy person trying to hurt or kill us.

    • One thing you can do at a local level wherever you are is to petition the city council (or county equivalent) to pass an ordinance to *require* 24 hour stores to have at least 2 clerks on duty at all times.

      (That they should also conceal carry goes without saying…)

  16. “Does that mean employees are supposed to stand there and take a bullet or a knife without resisting as well?”

    I think you’re not reading the company policy correctly. I have come to the conclusion that the proper way to read the company policy is from the perspective of the CEO and owners. In other words, this policy of not doing anything and possibly being injured in the process is great for the CEO given that he/she will probably never visit that gas station. That said, it appears that those in the top ranks of the company don’t care about their employees.

    • “That said, it appears that those in the top ranks of the company don’t care about their employees.”

      That statement is probably true for 95% of businesses that employ more than 500 people.

  17. I can understand why they have that policy. Look at how litigation happy our society is. Now just imagine your store clerk just plugged a robber but in the process misses said lowlife with 2 rounds. Those rounds destroy merchandise and/or equipment in the store. You’re on the hook for those repairs and you can’t very well take your clerk’s whole paycheck for months on end to pay for damages. Now for the litigation part. Same scenario clerk fires misses BG twice damages product and equipment but this time those rounds and the rounds our clerk hit BG with exit the store and damage customer property and injure customers. Your company will probably be sued. Sure you can settle out of court and maybe save some money, but even doing that, you may be out 10s of thousands of dollars. That’s not even counting the actual settlement that’s just legal fees and of course BG can always sue should they survive and there’s the actual settlement and paying for damages to everybody’s stuff.

    • You’ve got the cart before the horse here. If every clerk (or even a decent %) was armed and ready to defend themselves, I suspect that the threat of robbery would decrease exponentially. At least that’s the way it works here. Every clerk, every customer and everyone passing by is perfectly free to carry a gun. And most of them know how to use them quite well.

      We don’t have any holdups or robberies… at all. Over in the city 80 miles away, there are many of these “gun free zone” franchises, and they DO get hit occasionally. And the thugs get shot occasionally as well.

      The thugs in the big cities have been conditioned to believe that nobody will resist them, that they can get away with it even if caught, basically, since they are out on the street in a short time even if convicted and jailed.

      And yes, once in a while they do manage to win a lawsuit, but not often. But that’s not the central issue by any means.

      • You got that right, Mama L. In my city, word travels fast when store clerks shoot back. But Weskyvet is spot on with C-suite thinking, Look at the Ford Pinto case — they calculated it was cheaper to pay off the families of people who died than fix the fuel tanks. That’s publicly held corporate risk management. And that’s why the companies that treat their lowest-level employees the best are privately held.

    • We should all recall that any such damages to people or property are the fault of the PERP, who should be required to pay all such damages prior to being released from prison. But (surprise) most crackheads do not have deep pockets (yes, their pockets end below their knees, but they still are not deep) and lawyers have set themselves up to get paid by someone.

  18. The robbers don’t even need a gun, actually. Many years ago I was working the night shift at a liquor store in a small desert town. I’d dislocated a shoulder and couldn’t do my regular job for a while. I was the only employee. Some of the “customers” felt free to take things from the shelves and coolers without paying for them. I’m five feet tall, and was disabled anyway, so there wasn’t anything I could do about it. (Response time average for the sheriff’s dept. was about an hour and a half.) The majority of the “customers” were big, young men. The only weapon they needed was their bare hands. I, of course, was forbidden to have any sort of weapon.

    The second week, the owner called and said I’d have to close by myself, and to bring the money to his house. I did… and handed him the keys along with the bag and a verbal resignation.

    The funny thing is that a month later that store was robbed for real, and the owner happened to be at the counter then. Nobody was hurt, thank goodness, but I always wondered if he re-thought his priorities after that. Even a “small business” can make stupid decisions.

  19. We shot a bunch of bulletproof glass plates that were pulled out of a convenience store. They sent shards of glass flying. More dangerous behind the glass than without it. Bulletproof glass is a deadly false sense of security!

  20. That being the dumbest thing I have ever heard. I feel the cashier had every right to defend herself.
    CIRCLE K WAS WRONG PUTTING HER ON SUSPENSION SHE SHOULD HAVE BEEN GIVEN HER A RAISE,BONUS & PROMOITION!!
    SO WHEN THEY WHERE ROB AT GUN POINT THE NEXT WEEK THEY DESERVED WHAT HAPPENED. THEY TOLD THE WORLD COME ON IN YOU CAN RON. US CAUSE WE WON’T DO A THING ABOUT IT!!
    GIVE TH AT GIRL HER JOB BACK WITH NO LOST WAGES AND A NICE BONUS

  21. Unfortunately the the crook survived, now she is probably facing a civil court for causing bodily harm, bummer should have done a better job on him, bloody system stinks.

  22. So if the criminal had starting raping the employee would she have been allowed to kick him or would they expect to just try and relax and enjoy it?

    What is Circle K’s position?

    Inquiring minds want to know.

  23. Should business owners be required to carry a million dollar life insurance policy when denying employees the right to defend themselves? I’d still rather be alive but maybe if we get into their pockets this crap would cease. Just thinking out loud.

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