Man fights off armed robber at Lakeland convenience store

By Lori Brown - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - A man who stopped at a Lakeland convenience store early Friday morning fought off an armed robber.

Surveillance footage showed an armed robber pointing a gun at Joel Farris' head while he was in the convenience store.

Farris, who is a driver for a grocery store, was on his way home from work just after 3 a.m. Friday when he went to Flash Market off Highway 64.

Farris shrugged off his heroics.

"I don't really even think about it," Farris said.  "It's not really a big deal."

Farris said he first cooperated with the gunman.

"I was just standing there, talking to a friend of mine," Farris said.  "The guy comes in and I wasn't going to fight him over it.  He's got the gun."

The gunman apparently got nervous about Farris being there.

"He wanted me to turn around," Farris said.  "I turned around, and at that point I thought maybe I'd end up with a bullet in my head."

With a gun pointed at Farris' head, the gunman forced him to lie on the floor.  At that point, Farris fought back and grab the robber's gun.

"He realized at that point he was two-to-one and didn't have total control of his gun," Farris said, "because I had his gun and his hands tied up."

Farris said as the gunman left, he had several opportunities to fire at Farris.

"And he didn't," Farris said.  "He waited until he got to the door before he fired a shot."

The shot went through a stuffed animal's eye and then hit the wall.

"I'm thankful to God," Farris said.

His wife, Elizabeth Farris, and his 9-year-old son Ryan were also thankful.

"Oh yeah," she said.  "Very thankful.  I know he can handle himself, but there are a lot of idiots out there."

The gunman did not get away with any money.

If you know anything that could help police solve the case, please call Crime Stoppers at (901) 528-CASH.

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