When 71-year-old Henry Joel decided to pick up some Chinese food, two muggers thought he might be an easy target. However, Henry had other plans and reached into his pocket, and that’s when the bullets started flying. He also had a message for the “wannabe gangsters.”
Henry Joel had just picked up some Chinese takeout in North Philadelphia when he was accosted by two armed men. However, he did a bit of “taking out” of his own. The concealed carrier decided to speak out about those who want to be “gangsters now or whatever,” warning them a life of crime “will put you in the ground.”
According to WPVI-TV in Philadelphia, the incident occurred around 11:15 p.m. After Henry picked up his food, two armed men emerged from a breezeway and declared they were robbing him. The 71-year-old man, however, was having none of it — and it turned out the robbers’ mark wasn’t the easy money they thought he was.
Henry Joel proceeded to pull out his revolver and exchanged gunfire with the two would-be robbers, who fled the scene. Police said Henry was struck once in the ankle during the shootout. He was taken to Temple University Hospital in stable condition and was expected to make a full recovery.
“Philadelphia Police Chief Inspector Scott Small said they know the suspects fired at least two shots because investigators found spent shell casings on the sidewalk and in the breezeway. Small said the victim’s revolver would not expel spent shell casings,” WPVI reported.
“We do know that the 71-year-old victim fired multiple shots,” Small said. “Unknown at this time if he struck any of these two perpetrators, but we’re checking area hospitals at this time.” While being interviewed at the hospital, Henry said he was a licensed carrier because he has worked in security and keeps his firearm handy for a situation just like this.
“At night I would keep my hand on my pistol in my pocket in case I have to pull it out,” he told WPVI. “It finally came to reality that I had to use it.” As for the robbers, Henry said, “They raised a gun to begin shooting. I raised mine and we just started shooting. I don’t know if I hit one of them, but I’m pretty sure I hurt them because they were in the area I was at, basically, and I got shot in the bottom part of the leg which broke my bone.”
The pistol-packing senior had a message for the would-be robbers. “Stop and think before you act. What’s the point? What are you trying to make the point of? You’re gangsters now or whatever? You think you’re going to get recognition, you’re going to become a star or something?” Henry Joel said. “That ain’t gonna put you in no movies, it will put you in the ground.”
Unfortunately, a lot more Philadelphians are going to have to start following Henry’s lead, at least if trends in the city continue. Axios reported at the end of 2022 that homicides and violent crime were both up during the first nine months of the year, with the city recording more homicides than it did during the same period in 2021. Robberies had more than doubled. “Philly is bucking a national trend captured in a midyear survey of large law enforcement agencies by the Major Cities Chiefs Associations, which shows that homicides are dropping in most major U.S. cities, but total violent crime is on the rise,” Axios noted.