COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - A store clerk who defended himself with a pistol during an armed robbery is now without a job after getting fired for bringing a gun into the store.
Two weeks ago, Lee Satterthwaite was working the overnight shift at Wester Convenience store on Fillmore street in Colorado Springs when two armed suspects entered the store around 3 a.m. pointing their weapons at him demanding money. "Looking down the barrel of a gun that you know is wielded with hostile intent, is frightening," says Satterthwaite.
When he asked the suspects to not point their weapons at his face and they didn't listen, he drew his weapon. "They kept pointing their guns at my head, I stepped behind cover and drew my weapon."
The suspects were frightened by the gun. When Satterthwaite tried to grab one of the suspects weapons he was shot in the left arm. He says, "It felt like getting stabbed." The bullet went through his arm and out his elbow.
Both suspects escaped without Satterthwaite ever firing a shot. He was taken to the hospital for a minor injury and went back to work that same morning.
The night of the shooting was the first time Satterthwaite brought his pistol to work. After hearing of other robberies that happened that week at other Western Convenience Stores in Colorado Springs. One involving a clerk getting assaulted and taken to the hospital, the other involving an armed robbery where the suspect brought in a shotgun.
Two weeks later, Satterthwaite received a call from his manager saying he was fired for bringing a gun to work. Also, because of the shooting, the store says they are getting rid of the overnight shift and no longer needed him. He was shocked that he was fired for simply trying to defend himself.
"I accept the risks I understand working overnight at a gas station is dangerous," says Satterthwaite. "What I don't accept is a company that won't take care of those dangers for their employees and instead fires me for protecting myself."
He still has numbness in his left hand that doctors say should be healed in three months. He had to quit his classes at Pikes Peak Community College where he is studying to become a welder.
Still, Satterthwaite says he does not regret pulling out his gun to defend himself. "I didn't choose that robbery time, I didn't choose that location of being at work where I am not supposed to carry my gun. But, if I hadn't had it, I very well may have died."
Lee is now searching for work while taking care of both his parents and hopes to return to classes next semester. We reached out to Western Convenience's corporate office for comment but have not heard back.