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Store Owner Takes Out Robber with Fire Extinguisher to the Head

Silver Spring liquor store owner Tigist Atreso grabbed a fire extinguisher and clubbed a Rockville robbery suspect with it when he threatened to kill her toddler son.

Security cameras caught Tigist Atreso as she charged after a robber threatening to kill her son. Credit: Screenshot from WJLA TV
Security cameras caught Tigist Atreso as she charged after a robber threatening to kill her son. Credit: Screenshot from WJLA TV

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.

Charles Applegate June 28, 2014 at 03:16 PM
So remember folks, you have a great weapon when you have a fire extinguisher, If it is a dry powder or a CO2 unit use it to hit the face and especially the eyes. I guarantee the prep will not use his eyes for the next attack. The CO2 will freeze the eye ball and he is done. Now he can get 3 hots and a cot no matter where he spends his time.
Frank W. Chupka June 28, 2014 at 05:35 PM
all these stores should have a remote lock on the doors. when the clerk sees one or more thugs they can lock the doors and call the police
dcr20854 June 28, 2014 at 06:08 PM
Frank, if there's a dangerous guy in the store the last thing to do is lock the door so he can't get out!
Linda June 30, 2014 at 08:17 AM
Mike Kelly.....Did it ever occur to you that this lady's other 2 children were at home maybe with their father? Does it make a difference how old she is? She's a working mom. Maybe the sitter dropped this child off with her. So many different reasons why this child is with her. And as for having courage when she was with her "baby's daddy"? Who are you to ask these questions? Maybe you should have shown some of this scorn towards the "man" that she had to protect her child from.

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