Tigist Atreso says a would-be bandit went too far when he threatened to kill her 19-month-old son while robbing her liquor store.
Atreso says she had complied with the suspect’s orders, handing over all the money in her cash register in hopes that he would leave. But the threat to her young son had her fighting mad – sending the suspected thief to the hospital and then jail.
Montgomery County Police say suspect Michael Kemp, 20, of Rockville walked into TG Silver Spring Mart in the 8200 block of Fenton Street about 10:30 p.m. Tuesday. Kemp walked through the store aisles, pulled a handgun from a plastic shopping bag, and demanded money.
Kemp confronted Atreso and her 19-month-old son in the store’s stock room. He led her to the cash register in the front of the store, where Atreso handed over all the money in the drawer. But, the suspect apparently thought there was more money on the premises and returned to the stock room, where Atreso’s son was crying.
“He said, ‘I kill your son,' Atreso told WJLA TV. "He come to my store, inside my store, and he tried to kill him."
That was all it took for Atreso to spring into action. Authorities say the mother of three grabbed a fire extinguisher kept behind the front counter and ran down the aisle after Kemp, striking him in the head with the extinguisher.
As Atreso struggled with Kemp, a customer ran to help, tackled Kemp, and took a knife from his hand. Other customers helped restrain the suspect until police arrived.
“He need money, I give him money. He has to go back outside, right? But he come inside to kill my son. No, that’s not fair. This is a bad person," Atreso told the TV station.
Kemp was treated at Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring and is in jail facing seven felony counts of armed robbery and assault. If convicted, Kemp could face up to 130 years in prison.