“Do you want to die?’ How a Yellowknife store clerk faced down an armed robber

Yellowknife (CBC):Luc Nguyen saw war as a soldier in Vietnam.

He says he’s dodged snipers, led men into battle and still has pieces of shrapnel from a grenade lodged in his hands from 40 years ago.

Those experiences are why he says he wasn’t afraid when a robber armed with a knife confronted him at his Yellowknife convenience store Tuesday evening.

Nguyen, the owner of Kim’s Confectionery on Franklin Ave., was in his usual place behind the counter holding down the store at about 7:30 p.m. Then, a man walked up to the till, pulled a knife and demanded cash.
Nguyen remembers the man asking him a simple question: “Do you want to die or not?”

Nguyen didn’t respond, and the man repeated the threat.

“If you don’t want to die, give me the money,” Nguyen recalls the man saying, before beginning to walk around the counter, with the knife held out in front of him.

That’s when Nguyen took action, grabbing hold of a plastic lawn chair. He held it out in front of his chest, using the chair’s legs to defend himself and his money in the till.

“I took the chair and tried to fight with him,” Nguyen said. “I told him, ‘You have to go. Or I yell.’ I don’t know if he was scared or not, but he ran away.”

Video footage from Nguyen’s security camera shows the scene playing out as Nguyen described it. Just as the man ran out the front door, Nguyen’s son came in to the shop from the back room to help.
As for Nguyen, he says this was the first time he’s had an experience like this in the 15 years he’s owned the store.

But he says he hasn’t been shaken by the incident. The day after the attempted robbery, he was back at work — manning his post from his place behind the counter.

“It’s a normal day,” he said. “I’m doing OK.”

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