Pastor's wife shoots suspect during robbery in NE Philadelphia

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It was a frightening night for a pastor and his family in Northeast Philadelphia when a robber tried to attack them. (WPVI)

It was a frightening night for a pastor and his family in Northeast Philadelphia when a robber tried to attack them.

It happened around 11 p.m. Thursday on the 1000 block of Pratt Street.

Police say the 48-year-old pastor, his 38-year-old wife and 12-year-old son were returning from a concert.

They were approached by a 66-year-old man with a rifle near the parking lot of the Saint James Lutheran Church.

They say the suspect demanded the pastor's wallet, and then a struggle began.

The pastor was hit in the head with the rifle by the bandit.

"This is the first time I actually thought I'd die," said Pastor Robert Cook.

His wife then pulled out a gun, she was licensed to carry, and shot the suspect in the leg, police say.

Pastor Cook describes the moment his wife shot the suspect.

"And I turned like I was going to get my wallet, but I was stalling. And he hit me in the head with the gun. He swung it like a baseball bat.

"And everything was like lightning for a minute. And then I heard my wife saying, drop the gun, drop the gun. I'm like she's got her gun. He turns towards her, and I said, 'Shoot him! Shoot him!' And she shot him," said Pastor Cook.

She eventually took the shot when the man refused to drop the gun.

"Once he backed off from my husband and my son, it might have been a foot, two feet or something like that, but he still had the gun in his hand, he wouldn't drop it," said Stephanie Cook, wife. "As long as he had that gun in his hand, I knew he was a threat."

The suspect then ran bleeding from the scene.

Pastor Cook took his wife's weapon and followed the suspect. Police say the perpetrator dropped the weapon and fled.

But the episode was not over.

"He started telling people that I was the robber and I shot him, so people started coming out after me, and I kept the gun on his face the whole time in case he did something," said Pastor Cook.

Philadelphia Police Chief Inspector Scott Small said, "The suspect was able to make an unusual escape by jumping on running boards of a moving vehicle that happened to be traveling east."

Police were able to track down the suspect near a local hospital.

Officers apprehended the suspect. The victims were able to positively identify him.

He was treated in custody for his leg wound at the Aria-Frankford Hospital. He is in stable condition.

Pastor Cook said, "When we got our guns we were like we got them, but we hope we never have to use them. ... If it comes down to my family or him, and it's him, I'm sorry."

The pastor suffered a bruise on his head. His wife and son were not hurt.

A weapon was recovered, and police say, it appears to be a nail gun that was made to look like a firearm.

Police have not identified the suspect, and the incident remains under investigation.
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