'This isn't a joke': Man shot during gas station robbery describes violent attack

  • Brian Pemble

    Brian Pemble

Updated 3/3/2021 4:59 PM

It's been a week since Brian Pemble, working the overnight shift at the Marengo Circle K/Shell, was shot in the leg during an armed robbery committed by two men.

Pemble, who had been working at the gas station at 600 N. State St. as a second job for about three and a half to four months, told the Northwest Herald he can remember "pretty much everything" that happened that night.


He was filling the gas station's beer cave late Feb. 24 when he heard the door chime signal that someone had walked in.

Pemble walked out of the cave.

That's when he felt a pistol pressed up against his back and heard a man yelling, "This isn't a joke."

When Pemble went to the cash register, the man pistol-whipped him in the back of the head. Pemble opened the drawer.

"He didn't get as much as he wanted, so he pistol-whipped me above the eye," Pemble said.

After that, Pemble was asked where the safe was.

"I got them all the rest of the money I could, I crouched down," Pemble said.

The second man, who Pemble hadn't known was there previously, came up, put a gun an inch away from Pemble's leg and pulled the trigger.

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Thoughts of Pemble's family went through his head. He also remembered being irritated that something like this was actually occurring.

"I never thought something like this would have happened to me," he said. "I mean, I did the overnight (shift) for three months, and it's a quiet time. Marengo's very quiet, and nothing usually ever happens there."

Marengo police are still searching for the two men wanted in connection with the shooting, which they and the McHenry County sheriff's office responded to about 3:30 a.m.

Pemble was treated at the scene by the Marengo Fire and Rescue District personnel and flown to Javon Bea Hospital in Rockford.

Pemble, who lives in Capron with his wife and five children, said he's been "miserable" since the shooting.

"I'm pretty much on the couch permanently," Pemble said. "I can't do anything. I can barely make it off the couch to go to the bathroom. I feel like I want to cut off my leg when I get back."


As someone who's used to working 80-plus hours a week between his job at Circle K, Laser Pro in Elgin and even remodeling his neighbor's bathroom, Pemble is frustrated with not being able to use his legs.

He describes it as going from 100 miles an hour to "hitting a brick wall."

"I always like to get up and go," Pemble said. "Being stuck on a couch is furthest from what my life was."

Pemble's wife, Melissa, had told him she was pregnant with their sixth child the night before he got shot.

His other five children, who are 13, 12, eight, three and two, saw the wound, two giant holes in Pemble's leg, which was when Brian and Melissa told them what happened.

"My oldest looked at me and started crying," Brian Pemble said.

His family has been a big help since the shooting, he said. They bring him ice packs for his legs whenever he needs them, and "I haven't been hungry, that's for sure," he added.

So far, a GoFundMe created by Melissa Pemble has raised more than $13,000.

"That's actually amazing," Brian Pemble said. "I love the community. I really do. As soon as it happened, they all stepped up and showed their support."

The two men who are wanted in connection with the shooting are also suspected in a string of armed robberies of Aurora convenience stores, the Aurora Police Department said on Facebook.

Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call the Marengo Police Department at (815) 568-7231 or the McHenry County Crime Stoppers at (800) 762-7867.

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