A jewelry store in Gardendale, Alabama, was the scene of a dramatic confrontation when its owner, Jeff Dennis, thwarted an attempted robbery.
Dennis recounted the incident to AL.com, detailing how he became suspicious upon noticing a woman entering his store wearing a mask and coat.
Anticipating a robbery, he strategically blocked the door to keep it open. As the situation escalated, Dennis drew his weapon.
The woman, later identified as Heather Denise Wright, 32, greeted Dennis by saying, “Happy holidays.”
“I don’t want to hurt y’all, but I am [going to].” Wright then attacked Dennis with bear spray. However, Dennis, managing to avoid the full brunt of the spray, retaliated by shooting Wright in the shoulder.
“I did what I had to do to protect my store and my employees,” Dennis said.
Dennis described the potency of bear spray, emphasizing its immediate and lingering effects.
“If you’ve ever been around bear spray but it’s so toxic,” he said. “Within seconds, we were burning, couldn’t hardly see, coughing.”
He further explained the aftermath, noting that even after professional cleaning, the residue remained problematic. “It’s still in here today and I had a professional cleanup crew come last night,” he continued. “It’s still in our throats and we’re having to wipe down everything with soap and water and throw away a lot of stuff. It’s pretty brutal.”
The Gardendale Police Department later confirmed Wright’s arrest in a Facebook post. She faces multiple charges, including three counts of first-degree robbery and three counts of criminal use of defense spray. Wright, who has a significant criminal history, remains hospitalized for her injuries. Upon discharge, she will be booked into the Jefferson County Jail with a bond set at $90,000.
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