Gunman Abandons Plan After Praying With Clerk

( [email protected] ) Oct 23, 2009 07:52 AM EDT

A clerk who was held at gunpoint at a store in Indianapolis began praying and talking to the gunman who later dropped down to one knee and also prayed.

Angela Montez recalled in an interview on ABC’s “Good Morning America” Thursday that she was scared but felt God’s presence during the robbery attempt on Monday. The man had come into her store initially asking for a loan, but then jumped over the counter, pulled out a gun and pointed it at her.

The confrontation and then dialogue between Montez and Smith were all caught on security video.

Though Montez was scared, she began praying and talking to 23-year-old Gregory Smith.

“I started crying and praying and telling him don’t do this he was too young to throw away his life,” Montez had said in her 911 Call, as heard on the GMA show.

Through tears, Smith opened up that he and his two-year-old daughter were about to be homeless and he felt he had no other option, Montez said in the interview. During the course of their 40-minute conversation, Smith also shared that he hadn’t had a job in months though he had tried everything. He also said he had been in the service and is in the trade of heating and air conditioning, but no one would hire him.

“Talk to me. No one will talk to me. I have nobody,” Montez recalled Smith saying at one point.

After talking, Smith got down on one knee and prayed for 10 minutes. He then reached into his pocket where the gun was and took out the only bullet and handed it to Montez. The robber and the victim also shared an embrace before he left.

Smith left the store taking only $20 and Montez’s cell phone. The following day, he turned himself in on robbery charge.

Montez during the interview said she felt that the “Lord sent both of us together,” recalling that the usually busy store had no customers and no phone calls during the 40 minutes the two were together.

“This is pitiful that these young men feel like they have nothing and nowhere to turn to. It is pitiful and Christians need to open their hearts,” said Montez, who then encouraged Christians who own businesses to give these young men a chance.

“We need to open up and love each other,” she said.

Responding from prison, Smith, who saw the interview, said he felt God was working through Montez.

“I can say she just talked to me like a mother or grandmother to her child,” said Smith in an emotional jailhouse interview with ABC News’ Indianapolis affiliate WRTV Thursday. “She made me comfortable and I started telling her stuff I haven’t even told my own mother.”

Smith also apologized for his actions.

“To everybody whom I’ve affected, I just want to say I’m sorry,” said Smith as he tried to hold back tears.

In the GMA interview, Montez expressed hope that the Lord can use Smith while he’s in jail to help other inmates in similar situations.