Sharon Doyle forgot to bring her gun to work on Monday. Her decision to go home to retrieve it may have ultimately saved her life.
The 46-year-old store owner returned to Stan’s Health Foods in the Mayfair section of the city later that day. As she continued to work alone, police say a 47-year-old man entered the store with a knife in hand, immediately announcing a robbery.
The man went behind the counter, grabbed the register and threw it to the ground, forcing it open, according to investigators. After grabbing some cash, he allegedly stood up and put his knife to Doyle’s chest.
Unbeknownst to him, Doyle was armed not only with her .38 revolver but also years of law enforcement training. Before becoming a store owner, Doyle worked as a secret service agent in Philadelphia, protecting visiting dignitaries such as President Bush. She’s also a former Philadelphia Police Officer.
“I was in a few different areas of law enforcement,” Doyle said. “For family life it really wasn’t working out quite the way I wanted it to and it led me here.”
While she is no longer on the force, Doyle never forgot what she learned. It was that knowledge that she credits with giving her the ability to fight back.
“I just went into a mode like this is what has to be done,” Doyle said. “One of us is walking out of the door and it’s gonna be me.”
Doyle pulled out her weapon and fired, striking the man in the torso. He collapsed to the ground and Doyle called police.
“When police arrived he was behind the counter, unconscious on the ground,” said Philadelphia Police Chief Inspector Scott Small. “He still had a $100 bill clutched in his left hand."
The unidentified man, who police say had a lengthy criminal record for burglary, was taken to Aria-Torresdale Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 6:03 p.m. Police say the shooting was a justifiable homicide and charges will not be filed.
Doyle says she doesn’t regret pulling the trigger.
“It might have saved somebody else because he looked like he was on a mission,” she said. “So, if it wouldn’t have been here, it may have been somewhere else."