A desperate, drawn-out struggle over a rifle was captured by a surveillance camera during an armed robbery attempt in Ramona last month.
The crime ended with the suspect escaping after the determined cashier disarmed the suspect.
The robbery took place on the night of Oct. 16 at the Chevron Gas Station and Food Mart at 8th and Main streets. The cashier, who was only identified as Jose, is in his 40s and has a wife and children. As soon as the robbery began, he hit the "hot button" behind the counter to notify law enforcment of a robbery in progress, but deputies didn't arrive until after the fight, which went on for five horrifying minutes and eventually made its way out to the gas pump area.
On the video, a man wearing a gray mask with eyeholes is seen walking in and pointing it at the clerk. The pair struggles all over the small store, knocking over displays, before the guman fled.
"[Jose the clerk] had to fear for his life," said station manager Darrell Sittloh. "He didn't know what the guy was going to do. I'm just thankful it wasn't a handgun. I can't imagine where this could've gone."
Jose, who suffered minor injuries to his head, face and left hand, called fellow employee Natalie Rivera after the robbery.
"I was shocked when I walked in and saw everything -- a total mess," Rivera said. "Blood on the floor, on the windows of our cooler doors, everything. It was pretty scary. And when I saw him with blood just running down his face, I thought, 'Oh my God, what happened'?"
In the wake of the robbery, CrimeStoppers offered a $1,000 reward for information leading to the gunman's arrest. Sittloh figures he has a pretty good idea of who it might be.
"It's probably a local druggie, dirtbag -- you name it," Sittloh said. "It's one of them. And you know, they're all on the lookout, but as you [see] on the video, it's a little hard to tell who you're looking for."
Investigators said the gunman is believed to be between 18-21 years old, 5 feet 10 inches tall, with a thin build. Anybody with information about the case is being urged to call Crime Stoppers at 888-580-8477 (tips can be called in anonymously).