WINSLOW TOWNSHIP, N.J. — A pharmacist pulled out a handgun and fired several shots at a would-be robber as he chased him from his store, authorities said. It was not known whether any of the shots hit the holdup man, who had demanded narcotic painkillers.
“I’m no hero, but I thought, `Either him or I,'”John Agyemang (pictured), who opened Jolin’s Pharmacy only three months ago, told WPVI-TV in Philadelphia.
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In a brief interview with The Associated Press, the pharmacist, busy Thursday waiting on customers, said he had spotted a gun on the robber.
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The Camden County prosecutor’s office said that the pharmacist fired several shots with a handgun he legally owned, but that investigators had not yet confirmed if the robber had a weapon.
Authorities said the man fled on a mountain bike.
Agyemang was alone in the pharmacy at the time of the holdup around 2 p.m. Wednesday. The pharmacy is in a small strip mall in this town about 30 miles southeast of Philadelphia.
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“He could have shot me dead and nobody would have known because it’s not a busy area,” he told KYW-TV in Philadelphia.
The robber demanded OxyContin and other painkillers, the pharmacist said.
Agyemang said he told the man he didn’t have those drugs.
Armed robberies at pharmacies nationwide have shot up in recent years, climbing 81 percent between 2006 and 2010, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. Thieves are overwhelmingly taking oxycodone painkillers like OxyContin.
Most of the holdups do not result in violence.
But in April 2011, a gunman killed a pharmacist in Trenton before stealing $10,000 in pills. Two months later in New York’s Long Island, a robber walked into a neighborhood drugstore and gunned down the pharmacist, a teenage store clerk and two customers before leaving with a backpack full of pills containing hydrocodone.