Store owner pulls gun on robbers to protect family

Published: Jul. 3, 2012 at 1:37 AM EDT|Updated: Jul. 8, 2012 at 2:54 AM EDT
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CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - As storms rolled through Saturday night, a different kind of danger erupted at a convenience store in Chesterfield. The shop owner at Tienda Joana boldly refused to back down to a pair of robbers who burst through the door just before closing time. The owner, William Avaloa, drew his gun to match theirs. Avaloa described how one of the robbers kept watch at the door, while the other aimed his gun at one of William's future teenaged stepsons.

"He said, 'Nobody move!'" said Avaloa. "I was really nervous because you never know what's going to happen."

Avaloa didn't hesitate to reach for his own weapon. He aimed his gun at the robber. "I said, 'You don't move! Put your gun down, or I'm going to kill you! Down! Down! Down! Down!'" shouted Avaloa at the suspect wielding the weapon.

The daring move triggered the robber guarding the door to take off. The other suspect relinquished his gun on the counter. Niko, 17, William's soon-to-be stepson, immediately grabbed it. His brother, Joshua, took hold of another shotgun mounted on the wall.

"The guy (robber) basically ran out of the store," said Joanna Rivera, Avaloa's fiancé and mother of Niko and Joshua.

The store does have working cameras, but unfortunately they were out because of the storm. The owners believe that the suspects might have planned to take advantage of the power outage.

"The lights flicking back and forth... (The robbers) thought it was a chance for them to do what they had to do," added Rivera.

Avaloa says the weapons at he and his fiance's store protect his family, and the life he's trying to help provide them. "I don't like to hurt anybody. I'm over here to work hard to make money to help my family," said Avaloa, originally from El Salvador.

The suspects haven't been caught. Avaloa and Rivera say this is the first time they've been held up since they opened Tienda Joana last year. The couple says they'll continue to keep weapons behind the counter for protection.

Copyright 2012 WWBT NBC12.  All rights reserved.