Albuquerque, NM - A Circle K clerk who shot an armed robber inside the store at has been suspended for two weeks by store management, and believes she will be fired.
Jennifer Wertz was working at the store and had her gun with her because she was supposed to work until 10 PM that night. She said that she feels uncomfortable walking to her car at night.
She said that the gun was in her pocket because a nearby store had been robbed recently, and that she was "sick and tired of being a sitting duck."
Wertz said that the man came into the store, It was literally within seconds. He pointed the gun. He actually fully engaged the gun, raised it and pointed it at my face. And then I pulled my gun, cocked it and then shot."
The suspect, later identified as Ferron Mendez, age 23, was shot in the chest and was transported to a local hospital for treatment. Police said that he is expected to survive, and will be charged once he is released from the hospital. He is also the suspect in an armed robbery that occurred earlier on Monday at a nearby 7-11.
Wertz said that the store is often robbed and that employees have been told that they can't defend themselves.
She said, "We are not to chase or provoke. We are just supposed to stand there and give them what they want and they leave."
She said that she has her concealed carry permit, and said, "I'd rather be alive and have to find another job. So was thinking about it and I realized it was either shoot or be shot so I decided to protect myself."
She also said that she understood that she had violated company policy and that's why she was being disciplined.
She said, "I will continue to protect myself and my family. I understand the cops can't always be there. They're not always right around the corner. And we have to do something because these criminals are running our town. I've lived here 9 years and they're literally running our town."
Store management had no comment for KOAT but Wertz said that she had been suspended for two weeks. She said that she expects to be fired from her job, and that all she could think about during the armed robbery were her kids. Wertz said "All I wanted to do was make sure I went home to my kids. I have three children. I'm all they have", according to KOB.
Police said that Jennifer Wertz is not being charged.