A 45-year-old gas station owner was critically wounded Wednesday night when a robber shot him in the head at the Cloverly Shell station in Silver Spring, Montgomery Country police reported. A suspect was arrested by police.

The owner, George Smith, 45, was in the station's rear office when a man entered with an employee he was holding at gunpoint.

The robber told Smith he wanted his money and then shot the station owner in the head when he lunged for his gun, police said.

The employee, John Roberts of Silver Spring, then struggled to wrest the robber's gun away but only succeeded in getting his finger over the trigger. The weapon fired five times, and the bullets hit a wall, police said.

"I grabbed the gun with both hands and struggled with him for it," Roberts said. "I was terrified and I didn't want to let loose of that gun because I knew I'd be next."

roberts then ran out of the gas station and phoned police from a nearby store.

Police arrested Mancil Washington Clark, 35, of 908 Good Hope Road, Silver Spring nearby and charged him with assault with intent to murder, armed robbery and use of a handgun in commission of a felony.

Smith was taken to Suburban Hospital, where he was in critical condition.