An armed robbery of a convenience store on Wednesday was disrupted by a patron who tackled the alleged gunman and fought with him until police arrived, the township police chief said.
After the melee, police arrested and charged Alexander Ray, 26, of the 400 block of Alexander Ave, Maple Shade, with aggravated assault, robbery and weapons offenses.
The incident was reported shortly before 2 a.m. at a Wawa in the 600 block of Cross Keys Road. That’s when police said Ray entered and ordered three women store clerks to the floor while brandishing a gun.
A patron in the store then tackled the alleged gunman and a fight ensued. The patron, identified by police by only his first name, Darryl, was allegedly pistol- whipped by the man in a raucous fight from the floor through the front door until police arrived to find Ray disarmed of the handgun, authorities said.
Both men were treated at local hospitals for injuries, including facial lacerations and bruises, police said. Darryl was treated and released from Kennedy hospital, Washington Township and Ray was treated at Cooper University Hospital in Camden.
Township police Chief George Smith said he considered Darryl a “hero,” but wouldn’t recommend others to do what he did.
“Obviously, I believe this guy’s a hero,” Smith said. “However, we tell people not to do these acts. If it turned bad, it really would have been a loss for his family and himself. The outcome today was great, however we don’t tell people to do that.”
Smith said officers later discovered the gun used in the incident was not loaded.
“If the gun was loaded and he fired off a shot, God forbid,” he said. “It would have turned into a tragedy.”
Smith recommends doing what an assailant says, but to later provide a good description or a license plate number.