This time, Eunice Jernigan was ready.
When a would-be robber pulled a knife last week, the 77-year-old owner of Jernigan's store in Harlem pulled out a .38-caliber handgun and threatened to shoot the young man, who promptly turned tail and ran.
Jernigan, who is also a bus driver for Columbia County school system, said she did not get nervous at the time, because she went through a similar situation about 20 years ago.
"The last time that happened the boy caught my shirt collar and put the knife to my neck. That's why I backed up when I saw the knife, because it reminded me of then, and I wanted to back up and get away from him," she said.
It was shortly after that incident that she began keeping a gun in the store, she said.
On March 14, Jernigan was not going to be intimidated.
Two young black males entered the store about 2:30 p.m. Thursday and brought several items to the counter, Jernigan said.
One of the would-be robbers asked the other for money apparently to pay for the items, she said. But when he turned back toward Jernigan, he placed a 6-inch knife on the counter.
"He had his hand on it, and he said, 'Give me the money out of the register.' And I said, 'What?' And he said, 'Give me the money out of the register.' And I backed up while he was saying that, and I got my gun, and I pointed it straight at him. And I told him I'd blow his damn brains out. And out the door they went," she said.
After the would-be robbers ran into a nearby wooded area and eventually escaped a police search on Thursday, Jernigan checked the store and discovered that nothing was missing, not even the cigarettes that had been placed on the counter.
As of mid-day Monday, noone had been arrested in the incident.
She said she was thankful no one was injured in the incident.
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