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Homeless Man Saves Gas Station Clerk from Gunman in Stockton

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STOCKTON --

A homeless man in Stockton is being hailed a hero.

A Chevron gas station clerk came face-to-face with a gunman, but the man came to her aid, the clerk told FOX40.

The attempted robbery happened Monday night on the 3300 block of West Hammer Lane in Stockton.

Tuyet Tran is still frightened. Despite the fear, the Chevron gas station attendant spoke with FOX40 just hours after a gunman threatened her.

"This time around, it’s just scary that he was so aggressive,” Tran said.

Tran said even before he pointed the gun at her face, she knew something wasn’t right. The man seemed drunk and had urinated on some firewood outside the store.

“So I tell my homeless friend Steve, 'cause he was inside the store with me, to kick the cone close so we can shut the door,” she said.

That odd behavior was enough for Tran to take action. The mother of three had been robbed just two weeks before.

In surveillance footage from that night, Tran is seen with a woman who pointed a gun in her face. On Monday, Tran was again staring at the barrel of a gun.

“The guy comes in, he has the gun out, and he says, 'give me all my money,'" she said.

With a gun in her face for the second time in two weeks, Tran went behind the register while her friend Steve Smith, a homeless man who has been keeping her company since she was robbed weeks ago, moved near the door. What he did next may have saved her life.

"Finally got the fire extinguisher to unhook, and he started spraying the fire extinguisher all over and he sprayed the guy in the face. The guy finally took off in his car,” Tran said.

Grateful, yet concerned, Tran asked Smith why he put his life on the line.

"I asked Steve you know, 'Why did you do that? You could have gotten hurt. You know, he could have shot you.' And he told me, 'Because you have kids,'" she said.

She’s still scared but her gratitude for Steve is stronger.

"So grateful for him. So thankful 'cause he could have just gone away and left me and go do recycling but he didn’t," she said.

Unfortunately, the surveillance cameras did not capture Monday’s attempted robbery.

Smith and Tran’s friendship began years ago.

Tran recalled that Smith had asked her to borrow her phone to call his parents, “and I see that compassion in his eyes that he really wanted to talk to his mom and dad, so I let him use my phone,” she said.

Every holiday, she would let Smith borrow her phone to call his parents.

The gunman is described a Hispanic male who had a long ponytail and wore a black hoodie and white jeans. He rode up in a red Toyota pickup truck with two females.

The getaway driver is described as a female with reddish hair. Another female inside the truck had black hair.