Texas: Clerk armed and ready for robbers, kills one

Houston, Texas

From KHOU of August 15, 2009

Clerk armed and ready for robbers, kills one

Life can change in a second. It can also end. Cell phone store owner, Javid Iqbal saw both on Wednesday afternoon, in just 17 seconds.

“It is a part of my life that I will have to remember all of the time,” Iqbal recalls.

It was amazingly fast. Security video released to 11 News showed Iqbal behind the elevated counter, when the would-be robbers rush the store.

Two men with bandanas covering their faces, the leader gun in hand, vaulted over the case.

But in the five seconds that it took, Iqbal was already around the corner in the back, gun in hand.

“I see that guy come in the back pointing a gun. I just started shooting,” Iqbal says.

The two men were just inches apart, arms and guns extended. Iqbal fired three times, hitting 34-year-old Bryan Thorn.

Both robbers tried to flee after shots were fired, the second (still unidentified) man made it out, but Thorn did not. He collapsed dead in the doorway.

Iqbal said he could only think about the three most important people in his life, “I was thinking about my family; my little girl, my wife, my father,” he said.

All of them were within six feet of the shooting in the back of the store.

“My little three-year-old girl was in the store playing on the computer. The first thing wasn’t mine. I have to save my family,” Iqbal said, recalling the 17 seconds he will never forget.

This isn’t the first time. This store’s prior owner back in 2005 was also the victim of multiple robberies. One of those resulted in a shootout, which was also captured on video.

Not long after that, the owner-who was held up by three men and was not hurt- would sell this store to Iqbal.

Iqbal went on to do great business; but not all for profit, sometimes it came at a price. In all he’s been robbed four times, but no suspects were ever caught.

That is why his wife forced him to buy a gun and learn how to use it.

“Four robberies? Now I am not going to go through that again. All this happens. I have to take a stand somewhere,” Iqbal says.

The store is now open again after the shooting. His customers are standing with him.

“What if a stray bullet would have hit their daughter or hit his wife? Oh I’m sorry? For $20? Come on man,” said Carl English, who was in to pay his cell bill.

The store is still open, but Iqbal doesn’t know how long that will remain. He is now looking for a new, safer location.

Iqbal said that being robbed four times in a little over a year is all that his family can take. They are planning to move on soon.

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