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West Oak Lane Store Owner Turns The Tables On Masked Gunman

diana-web Diana Rocco
Diana Rocco joined the Eyewitness News team as a general assign...
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By Diana Rocco

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It’s a bold response to a brazen crime.

A pistol-packing grocery store owner takes matters into his own hands.

He’s sharing how he chased off a masked gunman trying to rob his store.

The store owner tells CBS 3 this all happened so quickly there really wasn’t time to think, only to react and he’s glad he did. Held at gunpoint, this store owner fought back — and he’s glad he did.

“I pulled my gun out, I fired twice and the guy goes away.”

When a masked intruder walked into Raul Serrata’s West Oak Lane grocery last Friday and stuck a gun through the glass partition demanding money, Serrata who was on the phone behind the counter acted like he was complying.

“He asked me for money and put the gun out and I say OK, OK, I’ll give the money,” he said.

But the surveillance video shows Serrata pulling his gun, walking out from behind the glass and firing two shots — both missing and leaving bullet holes in the wall, but it was enough to send the gunman running.

“It comes so fast,” Serrata said.

(Rocco:) “Did you think he was going shoot you?”

“I think, I think,” he said.

(Rocco:) “You did think that?”

“But I believe in God and God protect me,” he said.

Serrata didn’t want to show his face for fear of retaliation. He says he began carrying a weapon after he was robbed four years ago. A man held him at gunpoint and took everything in the register and behind the counter. He decided then, the next time he was fighting back — and he did.

(Rocco:) “Do you feel like you need to have a gun here to protect yourself?”

“Yes I really need it,” he said. “Who protects me? If the guy comes back I have my wife and my kids right here.”

That suspect is still at large. He’s described as 6’1″, a male with a medium build last seen wearing a green North Face jacket. Police are looking for the public’s help finding him.