BEDFORD-STUYVESANT — A 70-year-old retired city jail guard was critically wounded when he fought off two would-be robbers in a shootout at his gas station on Gates Avenue on Monday afternoon, police said.
Hillary Farmer Jr. was shot in the leg defending his Sunoco at Throop Avenue Monday afternoon, when a pair of gunmen tried to rob the place, police said.
Farmer's daughter, Hillary Farmer, 31, said her father had one surgery Monday night and was due for another Tuesday.
She said she was shocked that anyone would try to rob the gas station, which her grandfather opened more than half a century ago, she said.
"I'm not surprised he did this at all. That's the kind of man he is," she told DNAinfo New York. "I'm just surprised someone tried this. He's been here so many years."
The robbers, one wearing a ski mask and the other with a bandanna tied over his face approached the Sunoco, located at the corner of Throop Avenue, just before 1:30 p.m. waving handguns and forcing two employees, 53 and 73, inside the station’s service area, NYPD officials said.
As they forced themselves inside, the robbers ran into Farmer, who took off running in an attempt to escape, police said. The gunmen fired several shots at the man, who promptly drew his own handgun and returned fire, according to a police report.
The bandits fled west on Gates Avenue, but in the shootout they wounded Farmer, a retired city Department of Correction officer, in the leg, and he was taken to a local hospital in critical but stable condition, police said. According to his daughter, the bullet went into his leg and out his knee.
Farmer's niece, Tchad Lovell, 41, said her uncle, a father of four, was known around the neighborhood as someone who would fix kids' bikes and give neighbors enough gas to get to their destination, even if they couldn't come up with the cash. Lovell said Farmer, whose family came from Barbados, was likely defending the hard work of his immigrant parents when he fought to fend off the robbers.
"My grandparents were immigrants and built this gas station from the ground up," she said. "I'm sure yesterday he thought of his parents' hard work and effort."
Lovell said she hoped authorities catch up with the gunmen and give them an opportunity to reflect on their actions behind bars.
"I view them as very young. They need to learn their lesson and serve some time," she said. "It's terrible to come into the community and shoot at someone who has served this community for so long."
One of the suspects was last seen wearing a red Nike shirt, blue jeans, and white sneakers, while the other fled in black pants, a white T-shirt, and black sneakers, according to a police report.
No arrests had been made as of Tuesday morning and no other injuries were reported in the shootout, police said.
It wasn't immediately clear if the 70-year-old worker was licensed to carry a handgun.
Anyone with information should contact Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS (8477).