Robbery suspect shot after trying to rob store with knife

RICHWOODS, MO (KTVI) – A Washington County man is hospitalized after his alleged attempt to rob a small town store backfired badly. Deputies say the robber literally violated the old truism, “Never take a knife to a gunfight.”

Harley Johnson, 24, of Cadet, is accused of doing just that in his effort to rob Cobb’s Grocery in Richwoods, Missouri, Tuesday morning.

Ron Cobb has owned the place for more than three decades. Among other things, Cobb and his family are gun enthusiasts. Signs in the front window touting the second amendment clearly suggest that people inside are armed.

This is where Johnson arrived and allegedly walking in wearing a bandana on his face.

“He had a big can of mace and a hunting knife,” Cobb said of Johnson. “My son pulled a gun out and pointed at him. The guy run to the door and turned around and that’s when my son shot him.”

Johnson was hit in the abdomen by Kenny Cobb, who tells FOX 2 it was that action of turning around and pointing the knife at he and his wife a second time that led him to fire.

Johnson, now injured, managed to leave the store and get into the stolen pickup he was driving. He made it about four miles before being stopped by a Washington County deputy who was in the area.

“He was in the right area. He was probably about four miles away when the call came out,” Captain Michael Gum of the sheriff’s department said.

Johnson is now under guard at a St. Louis hospital. He will be held on $75,000 bond once he’s out.

Back in Richwoods, neighbors are shocked, not so much that a crime happened, but that anyone would be foolish enough to try to rob Cobb’s.

“Everybody knows he’s got weapons and that,” neighbor Dennis Spratt said. “You don’t rob that man. No one around here, they know better for years. He’s been a retired police officer and firefighter.”

Cobb’s son, who fired the shots, was released after brief questioning and was back running the store by noon, just three hours after the incident. Just the same, police aren’t saying one way or another if he might face any charges.

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