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N.H. gas station clerk fired for pulling gun on would-be robber

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A New Hampshire gas station clerk was fired from his job of 10 years after he drew his pistol on a would-be robber early Monday morning.

Shannon Cothran, who works at the Shell on Main Street in Nashua, was confronted at about 3 a.m. by a man wielding a knife.

"He was very heavily masked and clothed. He came directly in and produced a knife and came around the corner and threatened my life," Mr. Cothran told CBS Boston.

That's when the clerk pulled out his Ruger pistol, causing the thief to retreat, the report said.

Mr. Cothran, who has a gun permit, said he carried it to protect himself against the rash of robberies in the area, even though carrying a firearm is against his company's policy.

"I knew exactly what I was doing. I made a conscious choice to protect my life and put myself in a situation where I would have to find new employment," he told the station. "I really don't feel that I did anything this noteworthy. I just wanted to get home to my family; that's it. I would rather find a new job than either be in a hospital bed or in a coffin."

Nashua Police Lt. Denis Linehan said, "the clerk acted appropriately. He did fear for his life. He was in close proximity to a deadly weapon."

Nouria Energy Corp. issued a statement Wednesday, explaining that employees are trained to deal with robberies in order to prevent the situation from escalating.

"Cashiers are instructed to give the intruder what they ask for in an attempt to resolve the conflict peacefully and as soon as possible," the statement said. "Make no mistake: We care about the personal well-being of employees like Mr. Cothran, whose years of service are truly appreciated — not about the money in the cash register. So, we are especially grateful that this situation was resolved without injury.

"We do respect the constitutional right to bear arms. However, we believe the best way to keep our employees and customers safe is to prohibit weapons in the workplace," the statement said.

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