Archive for Friday, February 1, 2008

Store owner defies gunman

February 1, 2008


Convenience store owner thwarts armed robbery

A local convenience store owner is thankful to be alive today after thwarting an armed robbery. 6News reporter Cory Smith has more on one man's desperate act of courage. Enlarge video

The cut on his head and the dent in the store window frame are testimony to the wild ending of an otherwise routine workday for Sameer Sangam.

Shortly after 11 p.m. Wednesday, Sangam, known simply as "Sammy" to friends and regular customers, was closing his Speedway Shell station at 1733 Mass. when he was confronted by a man with a gun.

As he was walking toward his car parked at the south end of the store, a gunman stepped out from behind the ice machine and demanded money.

Sangam responded by hitting the would-be-robber with a bag of rock salt he was taking home to spread on his driveway.

"We kind of scuffled, and he hit me on the head with the gun. Then he ran away," Sangam said. "I was not going to give him any money."

Sangam headed back inside the store to call police. That's when the gunman turned and fired one shot, missing Sangam by inches and hitting the black metal frame around the front window. The gunman then continued running south.

"I called 911 and the cops came. That's when I realized I was bleeding," Sangam said, referring to the cut on his head.

Sangam was treated at the store by medics from Lawrence-Douglas Fire & Medical.

Lawrence police said they received Sangam's call at 11:17 p.m. Based on Sangam's description, the gunman was a black man between 20 and 30 years old and about 5 feet 7 inches tall. He weighed about 160 pounds and was wearing a long, black jacket, baggy jeans and dark gloves.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call 843-TIPS. Callers remain anonymous.

Sangam's store was targeted in another robbery attempt in October. A man armed with a knife unsuccessfully tried to take money that time as well. A suspect has since been arrested and charged in that incident.

In November 2006, a man stole a truck that was being filled with gasoline at Speedway after pulling the driver out from behind the wheel. The suspect then led law enforcement officers on a 130-mile chase before he was caught in Henry County, Mo.

Sangam said he isn't unnerved by the incidents.

"I'm not scared," he said. "More like annoyed."


stuckinthemiddle 10 years, 3 months ago

and he did it without a gun... well done, Sam... well done...

Mike Blur 10 years, 3 months ago

It's heartening to see a sea change of victims fighting back. I was a robbery victim myself, about a dozen years ago when I was completely passive and "cool" about the situation, although I had hundreds of dollars on me--in my hand, actually. I was working door at a downtown bar.

After that enlightening incident, I became more alert and "stripped down"--which is the attitude you have to take when dealing with two-bit thugs. You can't afford to be laid back when dealing with common thugs. Three instances since then have told me that even when they are armed, they are pansies when facing a potential victim willing to strike back.

(Key: attack the arm wielding the weapon, and bite if necessary. Trust me. It works. You don't even need a freaking CCW!)

Law enforcement is no help. It's about time the man on the street took matters into his own hands. Let's devote the rest of the decade to making the streets and workplaces of America safe for the rest of us. Rock on.

Lindsey Buscher 10 years, 3 months ago

Sam, He wasn't actually asking for your money, just for directions to Last Call.

bondmen 10 years, 3 months ago

Sammy, it's apparent thugs in the neighborhood are willing to use force to steal your hard work (money earned) and impoverish you and eventually even kill you. If your life is threatened again I recommend you use your firearm responsibly and shoot the perp in the shoulder or chest. Shoulder and chest shots will knock him backward and disable his assault, freeing you to call police and an ambulance, after you've disarmed him. In America Sammy it's definitely better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6.

lildos 10 years, 3 months ago

Well, I guess I would agree that "thugs" in a town like Lawrence are most likely pansies, as Mike says. But I would not recommend resisting a robbery in areas where both crime and homicides are high.

I have no statistics to back me up but I would think that a robber in, let's say, Washington D.C. not only is more skilled at his trade (shooting people) but he may also be less fearsome than some part-time robber in Lawrence.

For me personally would be hard not to do whatever the robber asks me to since I grew up in a different country. If you try to play a hero in Rio de Janeiro chances are you will be six feet under.

Anyways good job Sammy, now how about bringing the price of gas down in your station?

Janet Lowther 10 years, 3 months ago

Mr. Sangam has been very lucky.

I'd strongly recommend against bringing a knife a gun fight, never mind a bag of salt.

Crossfire 10 years, 3 months ago

I think I'm gonna start carrying a bag of salt with me. Good for Margaritas and self defense...

Bob Forer 10 years, 3 months ago

While I admire Sammy's bravery, I wouldn't recommend his tactics to others, especially mere employees who don't have a stake in the looting being stolen. While a certain percentage of robbers may be "pansies," who don't have the gumption to pull the trigger, I certainly wouldn't want to be the guinea pig to determine the statisical breakdown of that hypothesis.

Unless you have a gun, are trained, and are willing to use it, fighting back simply ain't worth the risk, folks.

nbnozzy 10 years, 3 months ago

knock on wood, but when NBN was open next to Sam's gas station, we were never armed robbed. Had 4 break in's though. Sam and his wife are great folks and I will continue to do business at his place as long as he is there. I wish him well and hope the assailant is quickly caught and thrown under the jail.

1029 10 years, 3 months ago

d.c. knows what it is doing in regards to prohibiting scared little people from carrying guns. simple rural folk need to understand that the opposition to d.c.'s law is created by the nra as part of a more complex agenda, not by the people who actually live and work there and spend significant time walking around downtown. (don't believe everything you read in "guns and ammo" and your right-wing e-newsletters)

oldgoof 10 years, 3 months ago

where were those thousands of concealed carry citizens who are protecting us?

domino 10 years, 3 months ago

Bondmen - Have to disagree with your advice of shooting in the chest or shoulder to allow you time to call 911 - Most people aren't good enough shots to shoot someone in the arm/leg on purpose and if you do, the perp can sue you for everything you are worth for battery - a jury might find you not guilt on the charges, but a civil suit could ruin you financially forever. If you are going to carry a concealed weapon and pull it on someone, you better be ready to deal with only one of you living thru it. Thirty plus years ago, had the local sheriff tell my dad that if anyone ever broke in and tried to hurt anyone in our family, it would be way better to kill the guy than let them go and end up with the family farm - literaly!!

camper 10 years, 3 months ago

If you read this Samy, I hope you are doing ok man. I'll stop by the next time I need to fill up.

Frederic Gutknecht IV 10 years, 3 months ago

BE the victim!~) Hell...ooooooooo, victim! Life is a crapshoot...emphasis on SHOOT. SHOOT! I just got robbed. Sam could easily be dead. Is that the point? It MATTers, but is that the point? The real point is that he decided not to be a victim. He fought back...and he could have died! We all could die at the hands of a criminal. Should we fight back or not? I would posit that it is selfish not to fight back, but that is my diecision without a gun being pointed at me and the decision at the moment of tuth would depend on my feelings and interpretation of the situation AT specific point in time! There is no correct answer as to how he should have responded. There is only his decision. I would hope that whatever decision he made under the stress of the situation would be respected by our society, whether he lived or died. Being robbed at gunpoint is an exceptionally serious event and one, I hope, none of us ever have to deal with...but it happens...rarely, no doubt, but it happens. It's important to decide what your philosophy is NOW, regarding this event...and regarding other serious offenses which endanger your life and the lives and future of your loved ones. Sam might have died. He is free to die...and ANYone who sticks a gun in your face deserves that RIGHT to die. If you wield a gun there should be consequences. That's the truth...whether you're the good guy or the bad guy. Here, in this event, there is unfinished business. There is a malicious person out there, willing to use a gun to feed his habit or family. He knows the rules and the risks. Do you? You never know whether you will live or die if you fight back. Sam could be dead The perpetrator would probably have left without cash in either case. Sam and the "perp" may have made, in hindsight, a bad decision. Let's do what we can to make the proper decision BEFORE we have to do so, that is if you believe Sam lives in our world. Does he? Do you wish to be prepared? ...or pared, perhaps?~)

Let's remember that forgiveness is a two-way street and stress is a B!+c#. Forgive the stressed and burn the stressor is my philosophy. What's yours?

There is sparkling wine in my response, so take it with a grain of salt!~)

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