Clerk defends store in shootout caught on camera; police search for robber

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KPLR) - Would-be robbers should avoid a convenience shop on Cherokee in south St. Louis. It is operated by a couple who came to the U.S. as refugees from Laos.

Sone Maniphonh refuses to give-up or give-in to holdup men. On January 4, she faced an assault from a gun-toting man for the second time in just over three years.

The man entered her store, Asian World Market, threatened her with a gun and demanded cash. Surveillance video shows her stepping back, retrieving her gun, and pointing it at him as he fired four shots in her direction.

"I thank God the bullets missed me,” she said.

She added she does not keep large amounts of cash in the store.

"This is a candy store,” she said. “I don't make money too much."

Maniphonh and her husband are considering retirement – not because they are fearful, but because of their age.

"When they come I have to fight back, I don't give up,” she said.

A similar incident occurred in December 2012. She believes the suspect in that case was arrested.

St. Louis City police described the suspect in the January assault as a black male wearing a green hoodie and a multi-colored backpack. He is 5'6" to 5'8" tall, with a medium build, and about 25 years of age.

Anyone who recognizes the suspect seen in the surveillance video is urged to call Crimestoppers at 866-371-8477.