4th degree TKD BB/1st degree JJ stylist takes out robber gunman!
Hairdresser played hero, not victim
She was able to use martial arts to deter armed robber but wants landlords to provide more security for business tenants.
By Manuel Gamiz Jr.
Of The Morning Call
Shirley Klotz was shampooing a client's hair when a masked man burst into her 15th Street Salon in Allentown last week, barking orders and pointing a gun at her.
Klotz kept her eyes fixed on the gun when suddenly the masked man spotted Klotz's 19-year-old assistant, Jennifer Hines, behind a counter trying to hide the day's receipts. He turned the gun on Hines.
In that split second, Klotz's martial arts instincts kicked in.
''I knew when he turned his back to me, that was my opportunity,'' said Klotz, a fourth-degree black belt in tae kwon do and a first-degree black belt in jujitsu. ''When he pointed the gun at my assistant, I knew he was going to shoot. I said, 'uh uh.' I didn't care if I was shot, but I was not going to let him shoot her.''
Klotz, 58, grabbed the man from behind, locking her arms around his and swung him to the ground, but he was too heavy for the petite hairdresser. They both fell, but the man held on to the gun.
Klotz was on the ground and the man was about four feet away from her. She saw the flash of the gun and felt the hot bullet tearing through her right forearm. It shattered her radius bone and grazed her stomach.
Klotz, of North Whitehall Township, said she was in ''unfathomable pain,'' but when she looked up, the man was gone, and her assistant and the longtime client were unharmed. ''I don't know what I would have done if anyone else was injured,'' she said. ''If anybody was going to get shot, I'm glad it was me.''
Allentown police are still searching for the attacker in the Dec. 21 robbery attempt. The robbery was one of the latest in a string of more than 100 armed robberies in the Lehigh Valley region since August.
Victims have been injured in few of the cases. In fewer still have the victims fought back. Klotz said she was not trying to be a hero, but she felt something had to be done to protect those in her salon.
Her husband, a fifth-degree black belt in tae kwon do who teaches martial arts and self-defense at East Penn Martial Arts in Macungie, said he believes she did the right thing.
''I tell my students that they should just give up the money and not make the robber angry,'' Gino Muraro said. ''But, Shirley is trained for those situations, and if she did not do something, Jen might have been shot.''
Muraro said his wife's attacker needs to be caught because he'll probably do the same thing to someone else. Klotz said that is only the beginning.
Next year, Klotz said, she wants to speak to state legislators to push for a law that would require landlords to provide security for their business tenants. With the rash of robberies in the Lehigh Valley, Klotz said, something has to be done.
''With all the robberies in the city, this is necessary,'' said Klotz, who said installing surveillance cameras or other security measures is expensive and not all business owners can afford them. ''I'm sure others who have gone through the same thing would agree.''
After hearing about the shooting, Klotz's landlord said he would install security cameras in the 15th Street Salon, a popular business that's been honored twice by Properties of Merit for its holiday decorations and landscaping.
Phyllis Sayre of Catasauqua was going into the salon for an appointment Thursday and was happy to see that the front door was locked with a deadbolt.
''That's right, always keep it locked,'' Sayre told Hines, who is running the shop while Klotz regains full use of her right hand.
Unlike the day of the robbery, Hines said she and Klotz will make sure to lock the door while working. Hines said she even invites friends over to keep her company.
''The first day I was in here after the shooting, I got nervous about every little noise I heard,'' said Hines, a recent graduate of Allentown Beauty School. ''I'm getting better now, but I still get spooked when I see someone looking inside the salon.''
Some clients were scared away by the shooting, including the client who was getting shampooed the day of the robbery. The client, who had been one of Klotz's regulars for 30 years, told Klotz that she will not return because she is too traumatized.
But Klotz said she is grateful that many, even those who have moved out of the state, stuck with her. Several sent her flowers and get-well cards.
''I am not scared to be in here,'' said Sayre, who has been going to the salon for six years. ''The neighborhood is going to protect this salon. We have our eyes open.''