She usually spends her time doting over dozens of grandchildren, but a 72-year-old Lawrence County woman recently found herself with a gun in her hand, watching over two men who police believe were about to commit an armed robbery.
Flora Armstreet doesn't want people to think she's some kind of gun-toting granny who's itching for a confrontation with desperados. To the contrary, this grandma thought someone was in real danger when a strange car was parked near her business Sunday night.
By day, Armstreet is the mild-mannered owner of a flea market in Summertown off Highway 43 North.
But at about 9 p.m. Sunday, a neighbor called and told her a suspicious car was parked behind her business.
"They say they broke down on the road," Armstreet said.
When she found them, the two men - Travis G. Carter, 21, of Spring Hill, and Freddie Currie II, 21, of Columbia - didn't seem to be broken down at all. They were parked with a clear view of the Dollar General store next door.
The 72-year-old peeped at the men from her back door, then called police. It seemed the men were up to no good, so Armstreet grabbed her .22, and - standing just inside of her back door - she warned them to stay put.
"He was saying, 'Ma'am, ma'am.' I said, 'Back up. Back up. You're looking at the business end of a gun,'" Armstreet said.
The woman's flea market sits near the Maury County line, and in recent months there have been numerous armed robberies of Dollar General stores in Maury County.
Police are still investigating whether or not there's a connection between these suspects and any other armed robberies, but at one point, this grandmother was afraid her standoff could turn dangerous when one of the men started moving toward her.
"I said, 'Do not take another step,' and I shot up in the air. It was such a blur. He moved so fast to the other side of the car," Armstreet said.
Now, the woman is back to selling items at her flea market. The native Texan wants everyone to know she's also a responsible gun owner who has never confronted anyone with a gun before and hopes to never have to do it again.
"If you pull a gun, you better be ready to use it or it will get you killed," she said.
Carter and Currie are charged with attempted aggravated robbery, aggravated criminal trespass, simple possession of marijuana and unlawful possession of a weapon.
For now, investigators believe it's unlikely these suspects committed the other recent Dollar General store robberies, but most of the incidents did occur on Sunday evenings and the suspects were wearing similar clothing to the other cases.
As for Armstreet, she's expecting her 35th grandchild next month.
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