SAN JOAQUIN COUNTY --
There’s a heaviness in Juan Valles’ voice as he speaks with FOX40 from behind bars at the San Joaquin County Jail.
“I’ve been a good man. I’ve stayed away from trouble. I have a 17-month-old kid at home,” Valles, a Stockton convenience store clerk, said Tuesday.
Valles said he works two jobs just to make ends meet. Being a clerk at 7-Eleven was just a matter of convenience because he lives close by.
“I've been robbed, I've been attacked many times,” he said.
The job has been dangerous at times during his year there.
“I’ve been through it before. I’ve had a gun pointed at my face, I’ve been through it,” he said.
Things took a turn for the worse early Monday morning when he said a homeless man came into the store on Pershing Avenue in Stockton. He claimed the man was drunk.
“He kept on yelling at me. I said, 'Sir, I’m not going to have that.' I showed him on the paper, 'I have the right to refuse service to anybody.'”
Valles said he escorted the man outside but the situation escalated.
“He gestured swinging at me, he turned ... swinging ... he missed me,” Valles said. “I stepped back, and I hit him on the side of the face.”
The Stockton Police Department said that hit is what led to a critical injury. The man fell and his head hit the concrete. He has been hospitalized ever since with a critical head injury.
“I didn’t want to hurt him,” Valles said.
Now, the worry is threefold for Valles: his job, his family and how the victim is doing. But all he can do is wait.
“I did nothing but protect myself,” he said.
Investigators added the alcohol in the man's system has made it difficult to treat him because his blood has been thinned out.
Valles is scheduled to appear in court Wednesday afternoon. As for his job, he added he doesn’t expect to return to working as a clerk.