Alan Van Arsdale calls himself a peaceful man who doesn't seek out trouble. But he doesn't apologize for his killer instinct.
Van Arsdale was tending his antique shop near downtown Ogden about 12:40 p.m. Monday when an intruder stormed in.
"Check this out, fool!" the man yelled, with a gun aimed at Van Arsdale's head 15 feet away.
In retrospect, Van Arsdale acknowledged Tuesday, he probably should have given the man the cash he most likely wanted.
But in one swift motion, the 46-year-old rock collector dropped to a knee, pulled out the .45 Colt revolver he keeps handy and fired a shot.
"I missed him by 14 inches," said Van Arsdale, owner of Al's Antiques Etc.
The bullet struck a photocopy machine. The would-be bandit, who wore a black ski mask halfway down his face, took off before Van Arsdale, a former Air Force airman, could squeeze the trigger again, he said. Detectives recovered the bullet.
Van Arsdale speculates the man, who is still at large, wanted money for drugs.
"Whatever drugs he's doing altered his brain chemical, and he did something he probably didn't want to do," Van Arsdale said. "When somebody points a gun at me, it alters my brain chemistry and makes me do things I don't normally do."
The armed robbery was the city's first since a police officer shot and killed 41-year-old Armond Sanchez in February as he fled from a robbery, Lt. Tony Fox said.
In that case, Sanchez robbed Jack's Shoe Repair store a block from Van Arsdale's antique shop and took off on foot. Police said Sanchez, who was suspected in more than a dozen robberies, raised a gun at an officer.
Sanchez took $45 in the shoe-repair robbery.
Shoe shop owner Dirk Moulton's first reaction to news of Van Arsdale's brush?
"Hopefully he hit him," Moulton said. "I just think it's a shame I come to work every day and work my guts out and these young punks come in and try to take [my] money."