by: Mark Becker Updated:
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - When Mark Derr pulled up to the drive-thru at the Sonic on Mt. Holly-Huntersville Road late Sunday night all he was thinking about was getting something quick to eat.
All of that changed when he heard the clerk’s nervous voice crackling over the speaker.
“He came back on the intercom and said, ‘Sir, please call police, we've just been robbed,’” Derr said. “I was sitting here saying what's going on? Then I see a guy run from the corner of the building right past my car here and I was like, ‘That's probably the guy that robbed the place because I could hear change jingling and his hands were in front of him.”
Derr, who’s a bail bondsman and carries a gun, watched the man run through some bushes, and he decided to follow. As he eased his car around the corner he saw the man again.
“He jumps in the car right there so I'm thinking this is at least an opportunity for me to get a tag number, you know,” Derr said. “So I pull forward thinking they're going to pull out. The window comes down, he fires a shot at me. I slam on brakes, I duck down I come back up with my weapon to return fire.”
Derr, who lives in the community nearby, thought better of it because there were condos right in his line of fire. He watched the car pull onto Mt. Holly Huntersville Road a disappear around the corner.
Police are still searching for the robbers and hope surveillance video from the drive-in will help them identify the gunman.
Derr, who’s seen a lot as a bail bondsman over more than 20 years, said it is still unnerving.
“To be shot at that close, it definitely was scary,” he said.
Read our past coverage: North Charlotte Sonic robbed at gunpoint
Man says he followed car after Sonic robbery Sunday
Videos of deadly encounter between CMPD officer, Keith Scott released
MINUTE-BY-MINUTE: CMPD chief says Keith Scott had gun, marijuana
CMPD arrest man with pistol, magazine in his bag at Panthers game
Keith Scott's fingerprints, DNA, blood found on gun, police sources say