James Suh, owner of Car Care Auto Spa, said he had inadvertently left the front door unlocked as he was doing a virtual meeting near the cash register when the robber walked in and pointed a gun in his face.
"I didn't even hear the guy come in," said Suh. "And just all of a sudden, this guy's just got a gun on me."
Surveillance footage shows the entire encounter, including when the firearm jams.
"He's pulling the slide back, and I could see he's having problems with it. And he's threatening me but at the same time, he's messing around with his gun," said Suh.
Acting on instinct — not logic — Suh reached for the weapon.
"In my mind, it just felt like it wasn't as much of a risk to suddenly go for it," he said. "I grabbed it off of him and he just jerked back, and as he's jerking back, I came around, tussling and struggling, and eventually I grabbed his wrist and just peeled it off of him."
The man took off out the front door. Suh said he was wearing a dark hoodie and mask, so he couldn't get a good description, but is thankful the situation played out the way it did.
"It doesn't seem to be the best decision I ever made. I definitely was acting from emotion more than anything. I don't think it was necessarily the smartest thing to do. On the balance, it was a couple hundred dollars versus my life. So is that worth it? I would say no."
Short of keeping the doors locked at all times and buzzing customers in, Suh said he doesn't see an immediate solution to improving his safety.
The would-be robber is still at large.