Posted: Aug 5, 2013 11:24 PM by Erin Steuber
Updated: Aug 6, 2013 11:37 AM
A Lafayette woman is thankful to be alive after finding herself in the middle of an armed robbery.
"He was so aggressive," said Christie Tassin. "It was just pure evil, pure evil in that store."
The alleged gunman, 40-year-old Jerome Turner of Scott, is hospitalized after being shot himself.
For Tassin, it started as a routine trip to the store.
"I honestly thought I'm a dead woman tonight," said Tassin. "When he stuck the gun to my head, I thought, 'I'm dead.'"
Tassin says she was the only person, other than the cashier, at the Dollar General in the 7000 block of Johnston Street Sunday night when an armed, masked, robber walked in demanding money.
"I ducked and tried to hide," said Tassin. "That's when he came around and held a gun to my head because he thought I was calling the cops."
She says the suspect forced her to the front of the store, put a gun to the back of the cashiers head and demanded he open the registers.
"He said 'I'm going to blow both y'alls heads off. Both of y'all are going to die. I'm going to blow y'all heads off,'" said Tassin.
Turner is accused of robbing two Dollar General stores -- and attempting to rob a third -- in Lafayette Parish prior to being shot inside the Texaco station located at the intersection of University Avenue and Pont des Mouton Road.
Tassin says after he got the money he exited the store, leaving her and the cashier in the building alone.
She said she is shaken up, but says she's lucky to be alive.
"I'm on my knees today thanking God I was spared," said Tassin. "And thanking God the cashier was spared."
They called police, giving a description of the suspect and the vehicle he was driving. That description was the same in all three Dollar General robberies in Lafayette Parish Sunday night.
Officers say Turner was armed when he was shot multiple times by a Lafayette Police officer inside a gas station Police say the officer stopped to investigate after identifying the suspect's vehicle as he pull into the gas station.
Turner remains in intensive care.
"I've honestly thought about going to his bedside," said Tassin. "Going to him and saying you know what you've gotten a second chance. Maybe it's time you turned your life around because God spared you for one reason or another."
Charges have not yet been filed, but officials say they are pending against Turner.
"Until they really gather all the information and everything, we're going to wait to charge him," said Capt. Craig Stansbury with the Lafayette Parish Sheriff's Office.
Law enforcement officials said Turner has an extensive criminal background.