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Donations pour in for mother of three who was fired after shooting armed robber

Thousands of people are coming together to help a mother who was fired from her job after shooting an armed robber at a New Mexico gas station earlier this month.

Last Monday, Jennifer Wertz was working behind the counter at a Circle K gas station in Albuquerque when 23-year-old Ferron Mendez (pictured) ran in and aimed his gun at her.

“He pointed the gun at my face, I grabbed my gun from my pocket, I cocked it and I shot,” she told WXIN-TV.

Mendez, who was hospitalized and later jailed, faces numerous charges including aggravated assault and attempt to commit armed robbery.

Wertz has not been charged, but her employer, Circle K, initially suspended her for what the company said would be two weeks. Her bosses later fired her citing a corporate policy that prohibits workers from keeping guns in the workplace.

Wertz’s mother set up a GoFundMe page for her daughter since the incident, which has raised more than $69,000 in donations. The money pouring in has come from about 1,700 people in just eight days.

The mother said her daughter – who has three children ages 8, 6 and 2 – would never have asked for assistance alone.

“She has always been a good person, mom and daughter,” the page reads. “She is in need of dire help to support her family. She was already living pay check to pay check and now has no savings or nothing to fall back on.”

Wertz said her employer wasn’t doing enough to make her feel safe after a rash of crimes in the area, so she started carrying a gun to work

“Robberies have been going on like this for the past few weeks,” she said. “They have done nothing to protect me … and I felt the need to protect myself.”

Wertz acknowledged that she decided not to comply with company policy because she was tired of being a “sitting duck.”

“We are not to chase. We are not to provoke. We are not to do anything. We just stand there and give them what they want and they leave,” she said of the company’s rules.

“What if he would have come in and just shot me just because I wasn’t behind the counter? I’m sick and tired of being a sitting duck.”

In an update on the GoFundMe page earlier this week, Wertz said she was grateful for the support.

“I want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart,” she wrote. “You all are helping me in more ways than donations. All of the kind words mean a lot to me. The donations I am getting will also be going to legal fees as well. I will keep everyone posted on how things progress. Thank you again.”

[Feature Photo: Police Handout/GoFundMe]