"She had to do it," was the response of shoppers after a St. Paul convenience store owner's wife shot and wounded a female assailant.
Joe Khalil had just stepped out of his St. Paul convenience store for a few minutes Saturday when a would-be robber entered, feigning to be armed with a gun.
Khalil said his wife, Susana Khalil, who is eight months pregnant, and their 2½-year-old daughter were visiting the Super USA store at 1198 Earl St. Susana normally doesn't work there, Khalil said.
The female robbery suspect pretended to have a gun concealed in a paper bag, police said, and she got into a scuffle with Susana Khalil. During the scuffle, Susana Khalil shot the woman, and the bullet entered the side of the suspect's chest and exited near her collarbone, police said.
St. Paul police spokesman Tom Walsh said the suspect suffered non-life-threatening injuries and is at Regions Hospital. Her identity has not been released.
Khalil said his wife suffered minor injuries to her finger and is home recovering. The couple's daughter was uninjured and is a little "scared" but OK, Khalil said. "My wife, she's doing OK," he said Sunday afternoon. "She's just a little shaken up."
He said his wife did not want to comment. It was the first attempted robbery in the year he has owned the store, Khalil said. "It's not a bad area," he said.
Khalil said he does keep a gun at his store, which Walsh said is legal.
Susana Khalil's actions were justified, a handful of customers said Sunday.
"It's either that or they were going to get shot," said Danny Lee. "That's crazy."
Terry Martin recently moved into a house nearby and said Susana Khalil was merely protecting herself.
"She had to do it," he said.