HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Horry County police have arrested and charged a man after an attempted robbery.
According to Horry County Police Department, Justin Abernathy, 24, of Conway was charged with one count of armed robbery with an alleged deadly weapon. He is being held at J. Reuben Long Detention Center.
Abernathy fled on foot when the victim put a gun in his face after the suspect demanded money.
Saturday, March 7, at around 9 a.m., the victim told police the suspect approached her as she was withdrawing money from an ATM on Socastee Boulevard.
The victim said the man demanded money and threatened to inject her with a needle he was carrying. Police often hear reports of ATM robberies, but not the latter.
"They're contaminated, they're dirty, needles," said Lt. Raul Denis, of the Horry County Police Department. "But it's not a common occurrence to be threatened with a needle."
The victim, who happens to have a concealed weapons permit, drew her weapon on the robber and watched as he ran off, police said.
"The victim stated once the suspect pulled the needle out, she pulled out her handgun and stuck it in the suspect's face. The victim advised the suspect, 'I dare you to stab me,'" the report states.
Although the victim didn't shoot the gun, she could've been covered under the Castle Doctrine, which expanded in the past five years to include areas beyond the home. 15th Circuit Solicitor Jimmy Richardson said.
"Basically anywhere where you've got a right to be and you feel threatened, so it doesn't necessarily have to be at home," Richardson said.
A threat to your safety, such as a needle, is all you need as long as you didn't originally initiate it.
"You're certainly in imminent fear of your life, you don't have to be stabbed or hurt or injured to protect yourself," he said.
To become a concealed weapons permit holder, a person has to go through more than six hours of training on everything from firearm laws to safety.
"Having that privilege carries the responsibility of knowing how you can carry, when you can carry, the proper ways to carry and the ways in which you can react to threats," said Jason Wallace, co-owner of The Gun Store.
The Gun Store teaches a concealed weapons permit course once a week. The classes are booked a month in advance and the demand only grows when incidents like this show people the power of concealed carry.
"Those types of incidents always spur our business and also spur the concealed weapons permit laws and also the one-on-one training and any type of firearms proficiency," Wallace said.
Wallace said he thinks the actions taken at the ATM Saturday show the exact purpose of concealed carrying, which is to stay safe.
"She displayed her firearm, she gave a verbal command for him to leave her alone, to go away and he did, which is the best case scenario," he said. "She showed good judgement."