Brooklyn flower shop employee fights off gun-wielding attempted robber

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

BROOKLYN, N.Y. (PIX11) -- "He came to kill me, I have the right to kill him.  I didn't kill him, I only hurt him a little bit.  He need to say thanks God he's still alive," said Florist Moti Azreal.

The flower wholesaler said he's done plenty of funeral arrangements during his career, but last Friday, he was thinking about his own funeral when a would-be robber put a .22 caliber revolver in his face after pretending to be a customer.

"He ask if we're selling flowers.  Of course we're selling flowers.  We have a bunch on the display here.  He ask how much a dozen roses, we tell him 10- dollars," said Azreal.

That's when the man reached into his bag, pulled out the gun, and pointed it right in his face.

A 28-year-old employee who was also in the store at the time ran to hide in the bathroom while Azreal starred down the barrel of the gun.

Behind the robber we're pictures of the florist's children who he affectionately refers to as his bosses.  There was no doubt in Azreal's mind that the man was prepared to shoot, even if he got what he wanted.

"He's going to get the money or something, he's going to shoot me," said Azreal.

The would-be robber demanded Azreal's phone.  When he looked in the corner to see where it was charging and took his eyes off of the store owner, Azreal managed to wrestle the gun from his hands and fight him outside.

"I choke him and then I start to hit him with his own gun."

The wholesale florist then held the robber until police arrived a few minutes later.

Monday fellow store owners and others living in the area came by to check on the store owner, who went right back to work after the incident.

"He says you know this guy?  I say, 'don't mess with Moti'," said one store owner who stopped by, but did not want to give his name.

Azreal, a former member of the Israeli military, says he thinks his 20-year-old training kicked in when he saw the gun pointed in his face.

But Monday he called his actions stupid and said he wouldn't do the same thing if confronted in the future.

The florist said he wasn't angry.  He actually felt sorry for the would-be robber.

And Azreal added that he was more upset he lost some business than the fact he almost lost his life.

"That's my time to sell flower and he screwed up my day because when the police came they closed the store."

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.