LAS VEGAS, NV – An Asian-American smoke shop owner out of Las Vegas put a quick stop to a brazen robbery earlier in August by stabbing one of the suspects involved multiple times after the individual jumped over the counter.
The incident reportedly occurred on August 3rd at approximately 3:25 p.m. at the Smokestrom Smoke Shop, where two men in ski masks reportedly entered the establishment while a third accomplice waited outside of the door.
When the two ski-mask-wearing suspects entered the smoke shop, the owner of the establishment, 22-year-old Johnny Nguyen, asked the men why they were wearing the masks.
Security footage from the store shows one of the suspects grabbing a tip jar. Nguyen later told the New York Post that the tip jar swiping wasn’t that big of a deal but that a line was crossed once the other suspect jumped the counter and tried to pilfer more items.
“I asked them first nicely to leave, but the guy took my tip jar, which was fine. When they came back and tried to take some more, that’s when it escalated.”
Nguyen explained that everything happened so quickly, saying, “I was scared for my life. When they came in, one of them had a bag in front of him like he had a firearm or something. I didn’t have much time to think. I grabbed my knife right next to the register.”
The small business owner stabbed the suspect, only identified as a 17-year-old male by authorities, seven times between his back, leg, and shoulders. After the final stab to the suspect’s back, the suspect can be heard saying, “I’m dead, I’m dead.”
As the suspect who jumped the counter was being stabbed, the other assailant who was inside of the store as well as the third suspect waiting outside fled the scene. Nguyen stated that after the stabbed suspect had slumped to the ground, he removed his mask and began apologizing for the attempted robbery.
“I remember him saying, ‘Please don’t let me die.’ He said he was sorry. By that point, he took off his mask himself…I was trying to get on the phone with the police when he was trying to talk to me. I just ran and wanted to make sure the police and ambulance would get here on time.”
While Nguyen was waiting for an ambulance with the suspect, he stated that the juvenile suspect kept repeating the robbery “wasn’t my idea.” However, Nguyen mentioned that when someone decides to get involved with something like a robbery, they’re “taking a risk” that can result in such outcomes.
“I don’t think he planned on getting stabbed that day, obviously, but if you try robbing a store, you are taking a risk. This is a small business, obviously.”
Authorities have not released any information on the juvenile suspect’s current condition or what charges the suspect may be facing in the incident. A second juvenile was also arrested in connection with the incident, while the third suspect is still at large.
Following the brazen robbery attempt, Nguyen says he has no intention of becoming a victim and says he plans on getting a firearm to keep inside the store moving forward.
“I don’t know who they’re friends with, maybe they want to come back and do something else, so I just must stay vigilant.”