East Tenn. clerk strikes would-be robber with hammer

Kingston Kenjo robbery_254880

KINGSTON, Tenn. (WATE) – The Kingston Police Department released surveillance video of a store clerk fighting off a gunman with a hammer.

The footage shows a tall white male in a hooded sweatshirt demanding money from the register. Det. Keith Kile said what follows in the video is something he has never seen.

“You see it on TV all the time but you never expect in your lifetime that that’s going to happen,” Kile said. “This is a first for me where the clerk actually attacked the guy back.”

The clerk reached for a claw hammer and struck the suspect in the arm before chasing him away.

“According to the clerk, he was looking for a bag but saw the hammer and grabbed it and went to swing,” Kile said.

As the suspect stumbled, the clerk threw the hammer at him but missed, allowing the would-be robber to make his getaway in a blue Honda Odyssey. Though the gunman remains on the loose, law enforcement officials encourage the public to report information about the suspect and his whereabouts.

“One good tip could get us where we need to be to make an arrest,” Kile said.

Although the clerk walked away unharmed, Kile said he advises others in his position to hand over the money and then call the police.

“It worked out good for him,” Kile said. “But that’s not something we advocate.”

WATE 6 On Your Side spoke with the Kenjo store manager who said the clerk did not follow store policy when he used force.

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