Man fights off gunman inside Byron convenience store

Man fights off gunman inside Byron convenience store

Umphria Maston wards off a man with a rifle from robbing American Eagle Food Mart in Byron.
BYRON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) - A Byron man is thankful he is alive after fighting for his life during an attempted armed robbery at a convenience store earlier this week.

Umphria Maston says he was also fighting to keep his wife, who works as a clerk at store, safe.

Maston wrestled with the armed would be robber and the two tussled right outside the door.

The incident happened at early Wednesday morning around 4:30 at the American Eagle Food Mart, on 247 Connector in Byron.

The store is opened 24 hours but locks the door after midnight. Customers have to knock so an employee can unlock the door to allow them come inside.

"We couldn't see because he had the gun down near his leg and we went to open the door he says get down or I'll kill you and your wife and give me the money," said Maston.

Zenaida Maston works the overnight shift at the store. She said that night she feared for her life.

"I thought I was going to die," she said. "But, I tried to grab the guy put him down. My husband was holding the gun and he said he would kill me but, he said it to him."

Zenaida said she was trying to help her husband.

"That's why I tried to bite him so he could fall down,"  she continued. "Then, my husband could grab the gun."

Maston got a few scrapes and bruises, along with an injured knee. He believes his instincts kicked in during the fight.

"You know it was different because usually as an adult I would know, to back off and give him the money because money is not worth your life," he said.
"But, when he said the word 'kill', that's when my instincts just took over. I don't even know what I did. I just grab the gun. I was thinking about my wife."

Byron Police Chief Wesley Cannon said, now they are searching for the gunman.

"After the struggle the suspect went to an adjacent business where we believe he got into a vehicle then fled the scene," said Cannon.

The police chief said things could have turned out differently. Police could have been investigating a homicide rather than an attempted armed robbery.

"I don't recommend anybody trying to fight off someone with a gun," said Cannon. "I recommend they give them the money."

Maston said he hopes police find the gunman soon.

"I'm glad that everything turned out OK," he added. "So far as, me and my wife being safe."

There are two rewards being offered for the arrest and conviction of the man responsible for trying to rob the convenience store. A reward is being offered by Byron Police Department and the other reward is being offered by Crimestoppers.

If you have any information about the suspect wanted in this case call Byron Police Detective Melanie Bickford at 478-956-2493.
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