Brain tumor found after Circle K manager pistol-whipped during robbery

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

PHOENIX -- An attack that landed a Phoenix Circle K manager in the hospital might have actually saved his life.

Jerimiah Willey and another employee were pistol-whipped in the head during a robbery at the store near 19th Avenue and Osborn Road. It happened around 4:30 a.m. on May 24.

"He hit me in the head twice ... and then throughout the whole thing, he was nudging me with the gun," Willey said.

Willey went to St. Joseph's Hospital for his head injury, which required eight staples. While at the hospital, a CT scan of the 30-year-old man's brain revealed an even bigger problem: a massive, life-threatening brain tumor.

"I think I actually started crying," Willey recalled.

His wife, Alisha, was shocked.

"They said that had this not been found and soon around the time that it was found, that he probably just would have gone to sleep one night and not been able to wake up," she said.

Willey is recovering from the first of three brain surgeries. He has partial paralysis, slurred speech and loss of hearing but believes the side effects are only temporary.

He said the tumor is benign and slow growing.

Alisha Willey said she is just glad her husband, a father to three young children, is going to be OK.

"While we're in the thick of what's going on right now, it's hard to be thankful to somebody who was so violent and who was very ready to do anything for the money that he got," she said. "I'm just very blessed that my husband is still alive and that it wasn't over that morning. ... It very easily could have been because that person just didn't take any value in the life of somebody else."

Anyone with information about the robbery is asked to call Silent Witness at 480-WITNESS.

To donate to Willey's medical bills, visit his GoFundMe page.

Suspect sought in armed robbery of Phoenix Circle K