A Michigan liquor store clerk fought back after a robber shoved a rifle into his mouth and called him a terrorist.
The gunman demanded money from the clerk, who is of Indian descent, and led him just before midnight Saturday into a back room at Bottlenecks Food and Drink Shop in Grand Rapids, reported WXMI-TV.
The 34-year-old clerk said the gunman accused him of being part of the Islamic State militant group and called him a “terrorist.”
“I used to kill people like you in Iraq with no problem,” the gunman said, and shoved the barrel of the gun into the clerk’s mouth.
The clerk, whose name is Tony, grabbed the rifle just before the gunman pulled the trigger and was shot in the cheek.
The masked gunman, who was described as a black man about 6 feet tall, fired two more shots before running away with an undetermined amount of cash.
Tony called for help on his cell phone because the robber destroyed the store’s phone, and he is expected to survive his wounds.
Both police and the store’s owners said the clerk responded bravely to the gunman — who the owner’s daughter believes targeted the employee, who is Punjabi, because of his ethnicity.
“It could’ve happened to anyone that looks like us,” said Gurleen Kaur, who is also of Indian descent.
She doesn’t understand why the gunman, who hurled ethnic slurs at the clerk throughout the robbery, associated the clerk with terrorism.
Her father, Inderjit Singh, has owned the party supply store for five years.
“We’re Americans,” Kaur said. “We’re trying to live normal lives, be Americans.”
Watch surveillance video of the incident posted online by WXMI-TV: