Police say a Minneapolis man was walking home May 21 when he was blind-sided by a robber and pushed up against a parked car before his assailant took the victim's gun –- which he had a conceal and carry permit for -– and placed it against his head.
According to police, the robber struck near 31st Street East and 3rd Avenue, just blocks away from the victim's home. He demanded the victim turn over the rest of his valuables. The victim lost his pistol and wallet in the mugging.
The victim's arm was injured by the impact against the car, rendering him unable to defend himself.
"I don't think there's anything this guy could have done to prevent this," Sgt. Bill Palmer told FOX 9 News. "He did get blitzed. He was injured."
The victim's 911 call helped officers locate the suspect, who was walking near the crime scene. Though he tried to hide from officers, he was promptly arrested.
The victim's handgun was not recovered.
Police identified the suspect as Willie Merriweather, 34, of Minneapolis -- a convicted felon with numerous aliases. He is charged with aggravated robbery in the first degree for the May 21 robbery.
Merriweather is in custody at the Hennepin County Jail.
Though he didn't want to go on camera, FOX 9 News spoke with the victim, who said he's been carrying a gun for over a year but never saw the attack coming.
The 23-year-old said he wrestled with his attacker as he reached for his weapon, but was overpowered.
"You have to understand that the gun can be taken way from you, used against you, or used in another crime if it's taken away," said Palmer.
Still, police said even with an estimated 80,000 people licensed to carry a concealed weapon in the state, this is the first time they've heard of someone being robbed with their own weapon. They say it's a teaching moment.
On the flip side, Heather Martens, of Citizens for a Safer Minnesota, says the incident only confirms her group's suspicion about handguns.
"I think people who are very highly trained can use a gun properly and carry it with them properly. It's still -- for most people -- not a good idea," she said.
Martens says most people choose not to carry a gun because they realize it could be taken away and they are not trained in what to do during an attack.
Yet, the victim told FOX 9 News he still believes the ability to defend yourself is an important asset in an unexpected attack.
"It doesn't automatically make you safe," he said. "It gives you an opportunity to make a horrible, horrible situation slightly less horrible. It gives you a chance. It doesn't give you a magic certainty."
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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