Gas station clerk scares off gunman, common target - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Gas station clerk scares off gunman, common target

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A local store clerk fought back as a masked man tried to rob her. Channel 3 is uncovering new details that show just how often this type of crime happens in our area.

The latest incident comes a week after police say a woman stabbed a Dalton clerk to death. Sunday night, a clerk in Chattanooga feared for her life when a gunman charged in demanding money. It happened at the Hi-Tech Fuel at the corner of Shallowford and Hickory Valley roads. He remains on the loose. Police data shows convenience stores are among the most frequent targets for armed robbers in Chattanooga.

Gas station clerk Wahida Gilani is the talk of the neighborhood as word spreads that this polite and petite woman sent an armed robber running scared. But, Gilani is still shaken, saying she can't get the gunman's image out of her mind. She says around 9 p.m. a tall, skinny black man in his late twenties ran in wearing a hat and ski mask. He grabbed hold of her female co-worker.

"He grabbed her and he said 'I need the money. Open the register,'" Wahida Gilani said.

Then she watched him pull the trigger and try to shoot her. The gun didn't work.

"Showed me the gun, clicked the gun. He clicked the gun, but nothing came out," Gilani said.

She seized the moment, grabbed a ball bat from behind the counter and took charge of the situation.

"I told her 'you kick him, you kick him!' so he left. He took off running," she said.

"She was the first person I thought of when they attempted to rob the place and somebody took a ball bat to somebody. I could imagine her doing that if you tried to mess with her money," frequent customer Darrell Cagle said.

Gilani is just one of dozens of local gas station clerks put in violent situations in Chattanooga every year. CPD records show convenience stores were the third most common location for armed robberies last year, only behind roads/alleys and parking lots.

There were 37 in 2013 with the majority involving a gun, though some did use knives and other weapons. There have already been seven in 2014. Again, most thieves choose guns as a way to get what they want.

CPD records show the locations with the fewest armed robberies last year were schools, ATMs, malls and pharmacies.

If you have any info that could help police find the armed man who charged the Hi-Tech Fuel Sunday night, call Chattanooga Police.

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