Taking a Knife to a Gunfight: Alabama Clerk Fends Off Sword-Wielding Robbers with a Handgun
We’ve all heard that the pen is mightier than the sword, but it turns out that a handgun is mightier than a sword as well. At least this is what one Family Dollar clerk was able to prove when he fended off two sword-wielding robbers using the firearm that he carries with him at work.
On March 20, two masked men entered a Family Dollar store in Birmingham, Alabama armed with swords. They proceeded to threaten store employees as they attempted to rob the store’s cash register. When one of the store’s managers heard the commotion and pulled out his handgun, though, the two would-be robbers decided to cut their losses and bolt for the door.
Precious Spencer, a clerk who had only been on the job for two days when the attempted robbery took place, described the event, saying, “He got to the end of the aisle and said, ‘they’re robbing us, they’re robbing us’… they came here with swords and that kind of threw us for a loop because no one really got robbed with swords before. What were they going to do, chop our heads off and get the stuff?”
Spencer went on to explain that one of the men was armed with a short sword while the other man was armed with a full-sized medieval longsword. She said that the two men approached the register demanding cash before being chased out of the store by the gun-wielding manager.
Describing her conversation with the manager after the event, Spencer added, “He said, ‘they rob us too much and that’s why I have my gun,’ and I understand why he feels the way he feels. He’s trying to secure himself and protect the people that are in here.”
It’s an understandable precaution given that the Birmingham Family Dollar location has been hit by robbers a reported 13 times since October 2018. Following this latest robbery attempt, though, Spencer said that the store intends to hire an armed security guard.
In the meantime, the store’s courageous manager seems to be doing a fine job discouraging thieves from robbing his store. Had this manager not been armed when the robbery took place, it’s likely that the sword-wielding robbers would have taken the cash without harming anyone inside the store.
At the same time, though, it takes a certain level of insanity to rob a Family Dollar armed with medieval weaponry, and there’s no telling what these two deranged individuals would have been done if their actions had not been thwarted. A pair of swords may be no match for a handgun, but they can certainly be lethal when used against unarmed victims.
Thanks to bravery, preparation, and quick action on behalf of the store’s manager, though, the altercation ended about as well as it possibly could have.
Birmingham Police Sgt. Johnny Williams certainly took the issue very seriously, saying, “Luckily no one was injured. We want everybody to realize that although this may seem funny to some, we still consider these guys dangerous. That weapon of choice at that time was a machete or a sword, but these guys can easily escalate to using other weapons like firearms.”
At the time of this writing, the two suspects have not been apprehended and the search for their whereabouts is still ongoing. Birmingham PD Crime Stoppers is asking anyone who might have information about the suspects or the attempted robbery to call their hotline and help bring these dangerous criminals to justice.
At the end of the day, this bizarre story serves as an example of how most altercations go down when a private citizen armed with a handgun steps in to thwart a dangerous situation. In most every case, these instances end with the outgunned criminals running for their lives in a state of panic.
The two robbers who hoped to walk away with a nice payday from Family Dollar may have been crazy enough to rob the store with swords, but they weren’t crazy enough to match those swords against a firearm. After all, self-preservation is a powerful instinct that even the most insane individuals still tend to possess.