Robbers armed with fake gun face store clerk with real pistol (VIDEO)

Fernell Pelzer (Photo: ABC)

Fernell Pelzer is charged with armed robbery even though the gun he had wasn’t real. (Photo: ABC)

An attempted “armed” robbery of a Springfield, Massachusetts, convenience store last week was thwarted by a pistol packing store clerk and the entire ordeal was captured on surveillance video.

Just after 10 p.m. Wednesday, three men walked into the store as the clerk, whose name has been withheld, was organizing supplies behind the counter. One of the suspects, who was later identified as 20-year-old Fernell Pelzer, pulled out a handgun and stuck it in the clerk’s face.

“They put it on my mouth, and I actually have a little cut on my lip,” the clerk told a local ABC affiliate. “They were over to my right so I fought them off a little bit and got time to reach for my firearm.”

As it turned out, Pelzer’s weapon wasn’t real, and the moment the clerk pulled out his genuine handgun, the three suspects immediately turned and ran out of the door, getting tripped up in their effort to quickly escape.

Two of the suspects got away, but Pelzer was detained by the clerk and held at gunpoint until police arrived a few minutes later.

“He tell me please don’t shoot him,” the clerk said. “I said, ‘I’m not going to shoot you. I’m just waiting for the cops to get here,’ and that’s what I did.”

Pelzer was arrested and is facing charges for assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and armed robbery. He could face a minimum of 15 years in prison if convicted.

Authorities confirmed the clerk’s handgun was legally owned and registered. Although he was ready to, the clerk was glad he didn’t have to pull the trigger. It’s unknown if the clerk was aware at the time that Pelzer’s gun wasn’t real.

“I’m happy to see that I didn’t get hurt and I didn’t intend to hurt him either,” the clerk said. “I’m happy the way it ended up.”