Family of clerk who shot suspected robber thankful he's alive

A would-be robber got more than he bargained for when he tried to rip off a Tampa convenience store.

Tampa police said he came in with a knife. What he didn't know was the clerk had a gun and he was prepared to fight back.

It happened Monday afternoon at the Hope Food Store on North 22nd Street and East Martin Luther King.

Shaken up, but at least safe and in one piece, 38-year-old Mutasem Abusafyeh stopped back at work Monday night - hours after being held up.

"Thank God I'm okay," he said as he got into his car.

Had things gone differently, he might not be so lucky.

Hours earlier, Tampa Police say a man, armed with a knife, came into the Hope Food Store. They say he walked up to the clerk and demanded money. But pretty soon, the tables were turned.

"The clerk took out a firearm and shot him in the head," said Tampa Police Spokesperson Steve Hegarty.

In seconds, the whole thing was over. The suspect, 22-year-old Anthone Bryant was taken to Tampa General Hospital with life threatening injuries.

Neither the clerk nor a witness were hurt.

"The clerk appears to be fine," Hegarty said. "It appears he's a little bit shaken up. Now, we're questioning him to see exactly what happened. But, it seems like it's pretty straight forward, what happened."

Customers concerned about the clerk's safety gathered around the outside of the store as forensic investigators looked around.

"Every time this happens," said Zaid Abdellah. "I see a lot."

Breathing one of the biggest sighs of relief is the clerk's brother, Meras Safieh.

"Thank God nothing happened to my brother because his wife, she is pregnant with twins and imagine those twins coming out with no father," Safieh said.

Safieh told us the store has had crime-related problems like this in the past. This time, his brother was prepared for whatever trouble came through the door.

"He had been telling me, the place is very dangerous," Safieh said. "My brother, all about work. He only works to make a living. Honest living. So, I am glad, thank you Jesus for saving my brother."

No charges have been filed.