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Brooklyn Store Owner Shoots Two Armed Robbers

October 9, 2000

An excerpt from a fantastic article originally published at†and written by Heidi Evans, Daily Staff News Writer

After 12 years alone behind the cluttered counter of his small Brooklyn greeting-card store, shopkeeper Joe Chenís gut told him trouble had just walked through the door.

One man, looking tense, bought a 25-cent pack of Winterfresh gum and stayed at the front near the door. The other circled toward the back, checking to see if anyone else was in the store.

Watching all this, Chen quietly reached deep into a pile of plastic shopping bags, where he has kept a licensed loaded handgun for the last seven years.

Then came the moment he was dreading.

"Gimme the money!" the man who bought the gum demanded. At the same instant, the manís accomplice hiked up his jacket and reached for what looked like a Tec-9 submachine gun in his waistband.

chen_joe.JPG (12221 bytes)
Joe Chen fended off two criminals with a .380-caliber gun.

The mild-mannered Chen, who never had used a gun before, was the faster draw.

James Baylor, a 32-year-old career criminal, fell to the floor in front of the Halloween candy, with four bullets lodged in his chest. Chen then turned to the other man, later identified as Antoine James Miles, and shot him once in the side before throwing himself down on the floor to take cover.

Both suspects made their way out of the store, but Baylor collapsed on the street in front of Chenís gumball machines, gasping for breath, his loaded .380-caliber gun next to him on the sidewalk.

"I didnít aim. The whole thing was so close, so fast," said Chen, a 43-year-old husband and father who has a warm and easy relationship with his customers and fellow shopkeepers. "I didnít even hear the shots. But my neighbor told me it was very loud."

In fact, said the fruit market owner who came to Chenís aid but declined to give his name, "He was in shock. Imagine if it had been your life on the line."

This was not the first time Chenís life and the store he calls Cardville had been threatened at gunpoint. On two occasions within a two-week span in July 1993, robbers entered the store at 1625 Cortelyou Road in Flatbush and demanded cash.

The first time, Chen said, he just handed over the $70 in his register. The second time, when a friend was in the store with Chen, he was emboldened to act. Chen foiled the stickup attempt by grabbing the robberís weapon while his friend wrestled the gunman to the floor until police arrived.

Shaken after those two incidents, Chen obtained a gun permit in 1994 and bought a $600 black 9-mm. Glock handgun at a Brooklyn sporting goods store. He took a few lessons and did not fire the gun again until the morning of Oct. 9.

With mayhem around him and his heart pounding that day, a dazed Chen dialed 911. "Please come," he said. "I shot someone."

Click here to read full story, a most excellent tale of life in Brooklyn, and of the honor and hard work this fine man was defending. If the story is no longer at that link, search for a story by the title of: Hero's World Turned Around published on October 29, 2000. It's worth the time it takes to read it.

NOTICE: In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed, without profit, for research or educational purposes.† We do our best, as well, to give credit to the original news source who published these Guns Save Lives stories out of respect and appreciation for their willingness to spread the word that Guns Save Lives.† God Bless the Americans that publish these stories - for assisting Americans in hearing the truth.

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One man with courage is a majority. ó Thomas Jefferson

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