A Mt. Juliet market owner was robbed at gunpoint Monday night, but he is the one who wound up spending the night in jail.
It happened at the Discount Tobacco and Beer store on Lebanon Road just after 6 p.m. when two men entered the business, one carrying a black handgun with a laser pointer.
The suspects demanded cash while holding owner Ali OBeid Alkazaih at gunpoint, and fled once they received an undisclosed amount.
Alkazaih told News 2 he then chased after the suspects by car in an effort to get the license plate number off the getaway vehicle.
While looking for the robbers, Alkazaih crashed into a dark colored SUV, which law enforcement agents said may have been similar to the getaway vehicle, in a neighborhood near his store.
Alkazaih admits to slamming into the vehicle, though he said it was not a deliberate act.
“I would not run into them. That wouldn’t do any good. I just wanted to get a tag number or something. Because if I run into them intentionally, I’m not doing any good because they have my gun and they have a gun, so I wouldn’t do that,” he said.
However, Lisa Paulson, the mother of the teen who was driving the Envoy that was struck, said it was a deliberate act.
“That’s not how it went,” she said. “This was deliberate, intentional and malicious.”
Paulson said at the time of the crash, her 18-year-old son had two friends with him.
“This man seeked this vehicle out and attacked this vehicle, not once, not twice, but three times, and almost t-boned them, hit that left panel and spun them around in the middle of the road and he kept saying and pointing at the vehicle, ‘They robbed me! They robbed me! They put a gun to my head! That vehicle right there, they put a gun to my head!’ And I said, ‘No sir, you are mistaken.’”
She continued, “He lost control of his vehicle and it won’t start so he gets out and starts running toward my son with an object in his hand that appeared to be a knife. These kids were freaking out! Terrified, so they took off to the house around the corner.”
Police sources said Alkazaih was charged with reckless endangerment.
The teens involved in the accident reportedly suffered some bumps and bruises. No serious injuries were reported.
The men involved in the armed robbery remain at large and were last seen in a dark-colored early 2000s Buick Rendezvous.
One of the suspects is described as a black male in his late 20s or early 30s. He has a muscular build and was last seen wearing a yellow t-shirt and blue jeans. He also has dread-style hair that was in a ponytail.
The second suspect, who has short, buzzed hair, is a black male in his late 20s or early 30s. He is heavy set and was last seen wearing a gray t-shirt and blue jeans.
Anyone with information should contact the Mt. Juliet Police Department at 615-754-2550 or Crime Stoppers at 615-754-TIPS.