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Marines spring into action after a shooting near a smoke shop

GASTONIA, N.C. — A shooting Wednesday in front of a smoke shop on East Franklin Boulevard in Gastonia may be a case of self-defense, police said.

Chopper 9 Skyzoom flew over the scene around lunchtime and could see several evidence markers outside Buddha Bazaar.

Witnesses said the alleged shooter felt threatened by a man with a knife.

Two U.S. Marines from a recruiting center across the street were outside when they heard a confrontation and saw a man get shot.

“We heard it first,” said Sgt. Anthony Beckford, a U.S. Marine. “We heard the yelling and the cursing, and someone telling the other person to get back. And then we were like, ‘What’s going on?’ And we heard the first shot.”

“We went after the gentleman with the gun first, and then made sure everything was good with that,” said Sgt. Matthew Stewart, a U.S. Marine. “And went back to the U-Haul where we found the man who was shot.”

The Marines ran toward the gunfire and helped the shooting victim who had life-threatening injuries, police said.

There were several witnesses who called 911 for help while the Marines sprang into action.

“The guy with the gun is the good guy,” the 911 caller told dispatch. “We saw him being chased by the guy with the knife.”

“The Marines from across the street are over there,” someone told 911 dispatch.

Stewart and Beckford said they were trying to calm everyone down and don’t consider their actions heroic.

The Marines said they just wanted to help and ensure no one else got hurt.

“Great day to be a Marine,” Stewart said. “Great day to have the training we have so we definitely knew how to react.”

“Just our duty, sir,” Beckford said.

Police have not announced any charges in the investigation. They are speaking with the district attorney about the case.

(WATCH BELOW: Crime scene investigators respond to shooting on southeast Charlotte road)