ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- A south St. Louis pub owner and an employee narrowly escaped injury when two armed men approached them while they were sweeping the sidewalk in front of the restaurant. Seconds later, shots rang out and it was all caught on camera.
Police officers tell News 4 that armed robberies, just like this one, have been plaguing South St. Louis for the past three weeks. They say that most victims are picked on a whim; people robbers spot who they see as vulnerable.
In the surveillance video, you can see a car pass by before making an abrupt u-turn when the bad guys spot two men just sweeping up the sidewalk.
Tommy Gage, the owner of O'Malley's Irish Pub, pulled on the shirt he was wearing early Tuesday morning when two gunmen tried to rob him then shot at him. A bullet tore through his shirt, narrowly missing his side.
“I didn’t notice the guy as he was coming out of a car with a gun, heading toward the door,” Gage said. “I knew my wife was working so she was in there and I didn’t want anybody to... who knows what would have happened if he would have gotten in here?”
Tommy said has a conceal and carry license, but didn’t pull his own gun.
“Nobody got hurt and I’m thankful for that,” Gage said. “I would feel horrible if I had to shoot somebody, but to save the people I love, I would do whatever.”
Instead, the retired Olympic boxer used a broom to fight back against his attackers.
“He had the gun and I came across him and hit him right across the wrist, and the broom broke in half,” Gage said. “That pulled his gun down and the bullet went straight between my legs.”
It is a scene that has been playing out more often in South St. Louis, where in the past three weeks, at least eight armed robberies have ended with gunmen shooting at their victims. It is important to note that armed robberies are down citywide, including in South St. Louis, compared to this time last year. However, police crime stats show a clear trend, noting more than 40 armed robberies in South City just within the past month.
“People nowadays for $20 will shoot somebody,” Gage said.
The suspects were wearing hooded sweatshirts. Their faces were covered by bandanas. Two jumped out of the car while a third stayed behind to drive a gray, four-door, get-away car.
“I just hope these guys either get caught or get scared straight,” Gage said. “I just don’t want to see it happen to anybody else.”
St. Louis Metropolitan Police call this spike in armed robberies a top priority. Undercover officers have been tasked with extra patrols. We’ll stay on top of their progress.