Man fires gun inside Gastonia convenience store, authorities say

GASTONIA, N.C. — A man fired shots during an attempted robbery Tuesday afternoon at a Gastonia convenience store, police said.

The man tried to rob Ray's Mini Mart on Bessemer City Road, then ran into the neighborhood behind the store, according to officials.

The store clerk said she was still afraid of the robber.

"He was pointing the gun right here, and my baby was sitting right here," the clerk said.

She asked if he was going to shoot her with her baby in her arms, and he lowered his weapon.

"He was saying, 'Umm, I have a baby too,'" she said.
He told her he was robbing the store to feed his children.
"He (told) me, 'Hey, don't move,'" the clerk said.

A customer walked in, unaware of the robbery in progress, until the robber -- who spoke in Spanish -- aimed the gun at him and gave the clerk an ultimatum.

"He (said) ‘Give the money or I shoot this guy. I'm scared, you know,’" the clerk said.

The robber fired a shot into the ceiling.

"I (gave) him the money and he walked away. He was saying, 'I'm sorry,'" she said.

The man fired another shot outside and ran, authorities said.

The robbery sparked a massive search with dogs and police with automatic rifles.

"They came from everywhere, out of the woods,” resident Tim Vickers said. “Hell, (they're) coming from the woods now with K-9 dogs."

Police said the robber and another man who might have been acting as a lookout during the robbery broke into a home blocks away.

The man who rents it said he came home and two men with guns jumped out of his bedroom closet.
His daughter-in-law described what happened next.
"Somebody had the gun and put it to him and said 'Do not call the police,'" Dulce Garcia said.
The men did not steal anything and no one was injured.

No one is in custody, police said.

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