Local News

Clerk Recounts Robber Taking Cash, Then Pausing for Gas

Posted May 22, 2007
Updated May 23, 2007

— What started as a normal day for Tammie Black behind the counter of the BP gas station and convenience store in Magnolia quickly turned anything but usual.

“I got robbed this morning,” Black said. The situation quickly became one of the scariest moments in her life.

She could not have known, either, that the man, Stephen R. Gibson, 23, of Raleigh, would die a few hours later of gunshots fired by state troopers and a Wake County sheriff’s deputy as he began to climb out of his car while holding a weapon. The car had come to a stop along Interstate 40 in Raleigh, its tires flattened by police “stop sticks” at the end of what had become a 70-mile chase from the parking lot outside the BP station.

“When I saw the gun, I knew what was happening,” Black said, though her mind did not quite accept it. “At first, I thought he was joking.”

She says the man walked into the store and demanded money.

“I said, ‘I don't have any money,’ and then he pulled the gun out of his pants, then came around here and took all the money — and filled up his gas tank,” Black said.

“He made me turn the gas on so he had a full tank of gas,” Black said. “He was standing out in the parking lot, watching me.”

As soon as the man turned his back, Black called 911. Just as Gibson was pulling away from pump No. 7, a Duplin County sheriff's deputy pulled in and the chase began. It would end in Raleigh.

In 10 years as a clerk, Black said, this was her first armed robbery.

“My boss, first question out of his mouth was, ‘Are you going to quit?’ I said no. I survived a car coming through the store. I can make it the rest of the way.”

In 2002, Black said, she barely got out of the way when a car crashed through the front of store.

Tuesday, she was grateful to be walking away from danger again, and she was philosophical.

She was, she admitted, “just a little bit nervous still. But it will be OK. Life goes on.”


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  • duplinco1 May 23, 2007

    The real criminal here is whoever gave this idiot a handgun permit.

  • djofraleigh May 23, 2007

    The young fellow wasn't an experienced robber as shown by his lack of planning and forgetting to the gas in his getaway car before he pulled the robbery. He threw his life away when he got the gun and got in the stolen car went to rob a store.

  • Tyrone Williams May 23, 2007

    First the News and Observer blamed the po po for the death then Wakemed for the death but now they're back to blaming the po po again. I wish the N&O would make up their mind.

  • duplinco1 May 23, 2007

    "Im sorry sir, but you must PREPAY for your gas."

  • duplinco1 May 23, 2007

    Someone asked in another post that i just read why the clerk didnt just turn the gas pump off.Thats a very good question.I live less than 2 miles from where this robbery occured.I am in that store almost everyday.Beleive me you almost have to have a gun to get them to turn the gas pump ON.Why didnt he PREPAY?He had the money!!!!Im glad nobody was hurt.I think the police handled the situation the way it needed to be handled.Those officers were doing there jobs and protecting all of us from harm.I dont think the police get enough praise for the danger they put themselves in.

  • RUN1UPNYA May 23, 2007


  • proud-bleeding-heart May 23, 2007

    Good to know Fox. Thanks for the info.

  • rbm631 May 23, 2007


  • The Fox May 23, 2007

    The N&O article does go into more detail, but the father apparently did not know the system. The new medical records privacy act does make it harder to gain records from even family records. However, one only needs to file out a hospital records form and present it to the hospital records office. I did this for my wife's med background. Assuming he could not get his son's signiture, a power of attorney could have been drawn up based on his mental condition. At the time he was at Wake Med his father could have discussed his background with the staff (violence toward others, not taking meds, he's got a gun). I'm certain they would have transferred him over to Holly Hill, or another mental health facility. Once an inpatient, the gun could have been taken by family, and he could now be listed on the Federal-State background check for further purchases. So many options missed.

  • proud-bleeding-heart May 23, 2007

    The store clerk has a great spirit. Good for her!