Poca, West Virginia

From Charleston’s The State Journal of April 2, 2007

Putnam County Pharmacist Fires Back at Armed Robber

Putnam County pharmacy robbed twice since February.

A gun fight after an armed robbery locked down some Piutnam (sic) County schools early Monday.

An armed robber walked into the ValuRite Pharmacy for the second time since February, but this time, pharmacist Brac Brown followed him out.

When asked if the armed robber fired his weapon, Brown said, “That’s possible, I don’t really know on that. No comment.”

Putnam County Sheriff Mark Smith said the thief, with 3000 OxyContin and hydrocodone pills in hand, shot first at Brown as he ran across a field to his car. Brown then fired back.

“I would assume, based on what happened today, that the pharmacist decided he would do something to protect himself, try to protect his business and I guess that’s what occurred,” said Smith.

Smith said there is no indication that anyone was shot as a result of the exchange.

Brown said when the robber walked in to the store, he was more aggressive and had a bigger gun. He pushed a patron, moved everyone to the back of the store and demanded drugs.

“We don’t know how to keep someone from walking through the door with a gun,” said Brown.

The ValuRite pharmacist ordered security cameras after the first robbery. They’re not installed yet.

Brown said the same man robbed his store on Monday and early last month.

“His face was covered this time but, I recognized his height, voice and eyes,” he said.

Smith disagreed, saying “the only thing we really have that’s consistent, from the description, is a white male.”

Smith said the suspect did speed away in a four-door, silver mid-sized vehicle. Deputies continue to look for him.

A spokesperson for Putnam County schools says all Poca and Rock Branch area schools were placed on lock down as a precautionary measure.

The lockdown was lifted by 11 a.m.

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