Arrested Sanford gas station owner says he was trying to protect self



SANFORD, Fla. - A Sanford convenience store owner is facing serious charges Monday because he pulled a gun on a customer.

The encounter unfolded at the GT Gas'n'Go on Celery Avenue.

The owner, Monirul Islam, told Channel 9 Monday he was just trying to protect himself.

Islam said he had the gun to begin with because in the past three years he's been robbed three times, shot and twice, and in this case, thought he was about to be robbed again.

Islam is shaken, but still working behind the counter at GT Gas'n'Go.

"I'm lucky I'm not dead," Islam said.

He was just arrested after pulling a gun on a customer.

Surveillance video shows a customer get angry over a problem with a gas pump, knocks over some candy and then leaves the store as Islam runs behind him, holding the handgun.

"I just protect myself because I was scared," Islam said.

Islam told Eyewitness News he thought the customer was trying to pull him outside as a distraction, leaving the cash register unprotected.

He's been robbed before, three times in three years.

"I'm afraid always here working is too dangerous, because there was two times they attacked me. And police told me, 'You should get a gun,'" Islam said.

Islam installed bulletproof glass two years ago after being shot at and said he has sixteen surveillance cameras watching the entire store.

"Every second, I'm in fear now every second. Because they used to know I have a gun, they know now I don't have a gun," Islam said.

Police kept the store owner's gun for evidence. Despite fear for his life, he says he has to keep working, hoping the charges will be dropped.

"I have a dream to live the American dream, that's all I try to do, nothing else. I have a dream to live the American dream, nothing else," Islam said.

He said he plans to talk to an attorney to try to get the charges dropped.