An armed suspect picked the wrong store to rob, after the owner pulled out his own gun and opened fire. New Haven Police said they were looking for the suspect for months, and claimed he held up stores in the Hill section of the city all summer.
The store owner said he had never done anything like that in his 40 years of running the business, and gave NBC Connecticut exclusive video that showed the encounter.
Surveillance cameras at Eddie's Market on Sylvan Avenue showed the suspect barge in late Tuesday night. He pointed a gun at a customer, shoved them aside, then threatened the owner behind the counter.
"It's scary because you don't know what the person is going to do to you," said owner Eddie Fontanez. Fontanez didn't back down. "This is my place, you gotta respect me," Fontanez explained. Seconds later he went for his own weapon. "I grabbed this (gun) and went over here like pow," Fontanez added.
Eddie Fontanez shot at the intruder twice. The video showed the man get spooked, as he ran through the store and took off. The bullets pierced through the merchandise and came within inches of the suspect.
Bullets from a gun Fontanez had never used before. "No, never, that's why I missed him," he admitted.
New Haven Police said Brandon Mills was behind the alleged crime. They found him a few blocks away on Ward Street when he actually flagged down officers, and tried to tell them where the perpetrator went.
Police did not buy his story and took Mills into custody when they saw his gun. "He lied to them...smart you know," said Fontanez.
The store owner was thankful Mills was behind bars on Wedneseday night, because investigators thought he was linked to more hold ups in the neighborhood. "Maybe he will kill somebody here, or maybe he'll get money," Fontanez stated.
If he got out of jail and threatened Eddie's Market again, the owner said he wouldn't hesitate to use the same tactic. "We cannot let these people do whatever they want to do," Fontanez explained.
Police said Brandon Mills, a convicted felon is now facing multiple criminal charges. They did not plan to take action against the store owner for firing those shots.