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Permit-to-Carry Holder Pulls Gun to Fend Off Attacker

Phillip Keys -- Stearns County Jail booking photo
Phillip Keys — Stearns County Jail booking photo

ST. CLOUD — A man who allegedly tried to attack a couple outside the St. Cloud Walmart store last week got more than he bargained for. It turns out the husband has a permit to carry, and used his gun to thwart off the attacker.

According to the criminal complaint, the couple was walking to their car just before midnight last Wednesday when a man dragging a baseball bat approached them. He asked the couple if they’ve “ever been hit in the head with a bat?”. The couple thought the man was joking and continued walking.

The husband heard the suspect take a deep breath when he turned around to find the suspect raising the bat as if to hit them. The man pulled out his gun and ordered the man to drop the bat.

Thirty-year-old Phillip Keys dropped the bat and told the man to shoot him before fleeing the scene.

Police later located Keys and arrested him.

Keys denied being at the store, saying he was drinking at a nearby bar all night. However, the couple positively identified Keys as the attacker and video surveillance shows the incident.

Keys is jailed on suspicion of 2nd degree assault.

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