Liquor store employees fight back during attempted robbery

By: Scott Cook


Twitter: @JScottCook

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – Two men are lucky to be alive after fighting off armed robbers at a liquor store in Providence late Thursday night.

A quick–thinking employee wrestled the gunman to the ground and chased the robbers away before they could get their hands on anything.

"I don’t know where my adrenaline came from,” said employee Eugene Smith. “I don’t know how I was able to get away with not getting killed."

Just 5 minutes before closing shop for the night, Eugene Smith was stacking the cooler in the front of esquire liquors when two men in masks came rushing in.

"I don’t know if the other guy had a gun, but I know I had to fight off a gunman that was shooting,” said Smith.

One man immediately ran to the counter, demanding money from the store’s owner.

When the owner refused, another man holding a gun came running in.

"He tried to come in and enter the store and I stopped him from coming into the store,” described Smith. “I just charged at him. I just charged him and started wrestling with him. I’ve got scratches on my arms and knees from fighting with the guy."

Shots were fired during the struggle.

"We were there wrestling with each other and he started shooting off a couple rounds."

Smith was able to grab the robbers hand, keeping the gun pointed away from him, but not before one bullet grazed his leg.

"I didn’t realize I got shot until I went to the police department," he said.

After wrestling with Smith, both robbers fled the scene in a dark-colored vehicle.

They did not make off with any money or product.

Despite preventing a robbery and a potential shooting, Smith says he is not a hero.

"It was no act of bravery. It was just something I had to do," he said.

Friday morning, the loyal employee was back at work helping clean up the mess caused by the chaos.

"It’s crazy. It’s crazy because this is our neighborhood and this is what we have to deal with,” Smith said.

“To those who are out there using guns, stop! Innocent people can get hurt. I’m just [lucky] enough to not get killed. I could have been killed in this situation,” he pleaded.

Smith says the store’s owner was taken to Rhode Island hospital with a non-life-threatening leg injury.

Meanwhile, Providence Police are still searching for the two suspects, however not much information is known about them as they were wearing masks.

© WLNE-TV / ABC6  2018