Florida Gas Station Clerk Puts Would-Be Robber in a Chokehold

Zachary Stieber
By Zachary Stieber
January 30, 2019US News
Florida Gas Station Clerk Puts Would-Be Robber in a Chokehold
A Sunoco gas station in a file photo. (Photo by Gordon Chibroski/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)

A would-be Florida robber was put in a chokehold on Jan. 29 by a gas station clerk when the man tried to demand money from the clerk.

The man attempted to rob a total of three businesses in Port Richey within a one mile area. He first demanded money from a clerk at Regions Bank through the drive-through window but ultimately drove away empty-handed.

His next stop was Sunoco Food Mart, where he was soon physically restrained.

“Fella walked up to me, walked straight up to the counter, looked me straight in the face and said ‘I’ve got a gun, give me your money.’ At first, I was a little taken aback, and I asked ‘What did you just say to me?’ And he said ‘I got a gun, give me your money,’” Sunoco clerk Rob Ray told Fox 13.

Ray said his focus was on not letting the man remove his gun.

“I came around here, he had his hand in his pocket, I came around behind him, put him in a chokehold, drug him out basically,” said Ray. “Somebody comes in, wants to rob a store, they’re not thinking straight in the first place, so you woulda thought after he got dumped on his head in my parking lot that he would have given up on robbing other people, but clearly he didn’t.”

Then the suspect then tried to rob a third business, Hudson Alterations & Dry Cleaning. When he demanded money from the owner, she ran to the barbershop adjacent to her business to ask for help.

The barbershop owner confronted the suspect but backed off when he realized the man was armed.

The suspect then fled before police arrived. Officials said he was a white male in his 60s, wearing a black hat and a black jacket with white stripes on the sleeves. He was driving a black, four-door Volkswagen Jetta.

Veteran, Pastor Killed While Trying to Help Daughter

In an unrelated incident, a beloved pastor and military veteran was struck while trying to cross a freeway to help his daughter, who was on the side of the road after running out of gas.

Earl Gresham, 73, parked on the southbound side of I-65 north of Louisville, Kentucky on Jan. 25 and crossed over all the southbound lanes and the median barrier before being struck by a green 2007 Camry while crossing over the northbound lanes, according to the Indiana State Police.

Gresham died upon impact on the freeway, near the 12-mile marker.

Family members remembered him as a good person who was always helping others.

“My husband was just a really good man,” Cynthia Gresham, 66, told the Louisville Courier-Journal. “He would help anybody. It didn’t matter what time they called, he would try to help them.”

Gresham served in the U.S. Army and was stationed in Alaska for several years in the ’60s; other than that, he lived his entire life in New Albany.

Gresham was a pastor who “didn’t take a penny for preaching,” Cynthia Gresham said. “He just did his oldest brother’s funeral last Monday.”

Gresham had a large family. He had 10 siblings growing up, and he and Cynthia Gresham had three children. Eventually, they had seven grandchildren.

“He even picked up his grandkids every Sunday to take them to church and everything,” Cynthia Gresham said. “I just can’t get over it.”

Terry Lynch, who lives next door to Faith and Love Church, where Gresham was a pastor, said that he was a kind-hearted gentleman.

“I am totally shocked. Just shocked. It’s just so hard to put into words,” Lynch told the News and Tribune. “He was just a very special man. He deserves so much honor because he would do anything for anyone.”

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