Deli customer hits gunman over head with bottle in robbery attempt

STRATFORD, Conn. (WTNH)–Stratford police said a customer inside a local deli took down a gunman with a bottle while the man was attempting to rob the store. The suspect got away, and the man who intervened was grazed by a bullet in the shoulder. He sustained minor injuries.

The customer struck the suspect with an empty beer bottle while he was not looking. Police said the suspect left the store after a violent struggle in which his semi automatic handgun was taken away.

It was the first time the popular neighborhood store was targeted by an armed robber. Dolly’s Express Deli has customers streaming in and out daily.

“He took the bottle, and he didn’t think twice,” said Joe Pizzaro, who was in the store at the time. “He just took the bottle and whacked him in the head with it.”

“[He] was struggling with him on the floor, for a good minute or so until he was able to disarm the suspect,” said Stratford police sergeant Jamie Rivera. “We wouldn’t recommend getting involved at all. It just happened for this particular case, it worked.”

Emil Joseph, who was in the store before the attack, said he believes that in the heat of the moment, he would’ve done something similar.

“I would’ve tried, yes,” Joseph said. “Why? Safety.”

The man who intervened did not want to speak to News 8 on camera. He said that he is no hero, but that he just did what he had to do and really wasn’t thinking about it. “He’s in here all the time, getting his numbers,” said customer Robin Horvath. “You know, he’s a nice guy.”

“I told him good luck with everything,” she said. “I heard he was looking for a job, so I hope something good comes out of it for him.”

Police are looking for the suspect, a thin, six-foot black man.

Investigators said they were close to an arrest in the case, but are asking anyone with information on the case to call the Stratford detective bureau.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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