Teen Shoots Man Strangling Mom in Pizza Shop Robbery, Blood Trail Leads to Suspect: Police

A teenage boy stopped a group of men attempting to rob a pizzeria on Thursday night after shooting one of the suspects in the face.

The incident took place when three men entered the Philadelphia restaurant at around 10 p.m. and demanded money from the cash register, Philadelphia Police confirmed to Newsweek. At one point, one of the men began to choke a female employee, who said she could not open the register without a code.

Her 14-year-old son was at the pizzeria during the attempted robbery. As the choking began, he grabbed a handgun from beneath the counter and shot the man in the face, according to police and other employees at the restaurant.

pizzeria robber shot in face
A teenager shot a robbery suspect in the face Thursday night at a pizza shop in Philadelphia after the attacker began strangling his mother, an employee at the restaurant. Above, a Walther P22 pistol is pictured. Tim Sloan/AFP via Getty Images

At that point, all three men fled the scene. Police were later able to follow a trail of blood from the restaurant to a nearby subway station. It was there that they found the wounded suspect, who was bleeding profusely.

"Officers followed a blood trail from [the restaurant], and while approaching Spring Garden Street, multiple people coming out of the subway entrance stated that there was a male with a face full of blood in the subway," the incident summary reads. "Officers went into the subway and observed a male sitting inside the subway concourse with blood dripping from his face. He was wearing clothing described in the flash information from the robbery at 1501 Spring Garden Street."

A large amount of cash was found in his pockets, but police found no weapon. It is unclear whether the suspect was armed during the attempted robbery or if he had only pretended to have a gun. He was taken to a hospital for treatment and was last reported to be in critical condition.

Police are investigating the possibility that the three suspects who attempted to rob the pizzeria were also responsible for a similar robbery in the area. Roughly five minutes before the suspects arrived at the restaurant, three allegedly armed men entered a pharmacy two blocks away and robbed it. Surveillance footage was obtained from the pharmacy and is being checked to see if the men match the descriptions given by workers at the pizzeria, who are cooperating with authorities.

Several employees reportedly fled the scene after the men arrived and made threats. Police are tracking them down in order to get further eyewitness testimony.

Major cities across the U.S. have reported notable spikes in robberies and burglaries in 2021. In San Francisco, legislation was passed on Tuesday that would allow stores to hire out local sheriff's deputies in order to combat the rising tide of theft. City Supervisor Ahsha Safai authored the bill.

"This legislation seeks to expand the availability of not just our police officers that are allowed under the existing rules of the city, but our sheriffs to be hired by private entities," Safai said. "Many of the private entities were having a hard time filling the demand. There weren't enough officers that were available for overtime to be hired, even on the dime of a private entity."

Update 12/12/2021, 4:50 p.m. ET: This article was updated to include more information from the police incident summary.