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Armed robbery may have saved Phoenix man's life

Jeremiah Willey was attacked during a robbery 2 1/2 weeks ago. He was struck in the head twice during the attacking. A subsequent CT scan revealed Willey had a large brain tumor.

Phoenix, AZ (CNN) - A violent attack that landed a Phoenix convenience store manager in the hospital might have actually saved his life.

Jeremiah Willey - Robbery Victim: “It was a pretty bad start to the day.”

30 year-old Jeremiah Willey, a husband and father of three; a manager at Circle K attacked, police say, while at work one morning 2 and half weeks ago.

Jeremiah Willey: “He hit me in the head twice pistol whipped me twice, then throughout the whole thing we has nudging me the whole time.”

Thankfully, Jeremiah and his co-worker survived the attack, but while at St. Joseph’s Hospital, a CT scan of Jeremiah’s brain, revealed more bad news.

Jeremiah Willey: “I think I actually started crying.”

Jeremiah was told he had a massive brain tumor. His wife Alisha was stunned.

Alisha Willey: “They said had this not been found soon around the time that it was found, he would have gone to sleep one night and not been able to wake up.”

Jeremiah is now recovering from his first of three brain surgeries. He has some partial paralysis, slurred speech and loss of hearing that he believes is only temporary. What's most important, however is that he is here. This family, in some terribly ironic way, may actually have this violent criminal to thank for that.

Alisha Willey - Husband of Robbery Victim: “Today, while we're in the thick of what's going on right now, it's hard to be thankful for someone so violent and willing to do anything for the money he got and I'm just very blessed my husband is still alive and it wasn't over that morning because it easily could have been because that person just didn't take any value into the life of somebody else.”

Phoenix police are still looking for the suspect. A reward is being offered in the case. Meanwhile, Jeremiah says he's very lucky, because his brain tumor is not only benign but also slow-growing. It will likely take two or three surgeries to completely remove it.