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Local store owners thwart attempted armed robbery

Originally published here on March 3, 2001

Eagle Staff Writer

When a masked man walked into a small Bryan grocery store wielding a handgun and demanding money, Lisa Klintworth’s adrenaline started pumping.

First she was afraid.

Then she got angry, thinking how hard she and her husband work for their money as the owners of Martin Luther King Grocery.

“I wasn’t going to give it to anybody,” Klintworth said.

And she didn’t. By the time their encounter with the would-be robber was over, Gordon Klintworth had leveled a rifle at the man, Lisa Klintworth had tried to rip the mask off his face and chased him down the street, and police had a suspect in custody.

The Klintworths have owned their store in the 600 block of E. Martin Luther King Jr. Street for seven years, but the store has been a staple in Bryan for the last 68 years, Lisa Klintworth said. Under the couple’s ownership, the store has been robbed only once, and that was during their first month as owners, she said.

At first, Gordon Klintworth thought the man who entered his store Friday morning and pointed a semiautomatic handgun was playing a joke. Klintworth’s friends often come in and play practical jokes on him.

But he quickly grasped the seriousness of the situation.

“He knew what he wanted to say — he didn’t stutter,” Klintworth said. “He just didn’t think he was going to meet his opposition.”

Klintworth told the man he didn’t have any money as he slowly made his way down to the other end of the counter, where he keeps a 30-30 caliber rifle.

When the man refused to leave, Klintworth grabbed for his rifle and leveled it at the would-be robber.

“When I met him gun to gun, that is when he fled,” he said.

But the Klintworths weren’t through with the man. Lisa Klintworth began pulling on his bandana and jacket in an attempt to discover his identity.

“I wanted to pull that bandana off his face to see who he is,” Mrs. Klintworth said. “Then I would be able to tell his mother, and around here if you say I’m going to tell your mother, it’s bad news.”

She couldn’t remove his bandana, she said, but she did kick the door into his chest as he was trying to run from the store.

Lisa Klintworth followed the man out the door and chased him down the street, but she couldn’t keep up with him. Her husband followed, firing a warning shot into the air, but the man continued to run.

Concerned neighbors began calling the police department after witnessing the chase. At about the same time, Bryan police Lt. Freddie Komar happened to drive by and saw Mrs. Klintworth anxiously searching for the man who had just been in her store.

“He saw me pacing the road because I was looking for that guy back there,” she said. “He said, ‘Are you OK?’ As soon as he said, ‘Are you OK?’ he heard about an attempted robbery on his patrol scanner.”

Within minutes the area was swarming with police officers.

Police spokesman Sgt. Ernie Montoya said that in less than 15 minutes officers had located and arrested a man matching the suspect’s description in the 700 block of Henderson. After searching him, they found a Llama 9 mm semiautomatic handgun and several white rocks believed to be crack cocaine, Montoya said.

The man, Bryon Eugene Jones, is charged with unlawfully carrying a weapon and possession of a controlled substance. He was being held without bail in the Brazos County Jail Friday night, according to jail records.

Additional charges are pending, Montoya said.

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