Gastonia restaurant owner recovering after being shot during robbery

GASTONIA, N.C. — Armed robbers shot a Gastonia restaurant owner with his 11-year-old daughter nearby over the weekend.

The shooting happened around 9:30 p.m. at the China City restaurant on Davis Park Road.

The victim’s wife said her 37-year-old husband had surgery and is expected to get out of the hospital in three to four days.

“The doctor (says) he’s OK, right now,” she said.

The family-owned restaurant is closed for now, but the wife is grateful for the community’s support.

A customer left a message, “Our prayers are with you and your family.”

Dan Li spoke to me in tears as I told her about the support from customers at China City Restaurant.

“I am so glad. Everybody keep praying for us,” said Dan Lie, the victim’s wife.

She said they were closing up Sunday night when two people wearing masks, who she thinks were teenagers, waited until the back door opened.

One of them ran up to a worker who was trying to get away.

“(They pointed) a gun to his head and he said, ‘No,’” Li said.

Everyone ran from the back of the restaurant to the front and no one threatened or challenged the robbers, so she was stunned to hear seven or eight gunshots.

One round struck her husband in the leg before the robbers grabbed cash from the register and fled.

“My daughter is only 11 years old,” Li said. “She was scared.”

Customers said they were shocked and angry.

“I have seen him help people out who came up short or needed a meal,” said customer James Starr.

“I hope they find the shooter,” said customer Nathan Ewart. “It’s crazy.”

The restaurant is expected to reopen next week, family members said.

They said the restaurant has been there for 13 years and they plan on staying.

The victim was taken to the hospital with serious injuries.

No arrests have been made.

The Gastonia Police Department is offering a reward of up to $1,000 for information. Call Crimestoppers at 704-861-8000. You can stay anonymous.

(WATCH: Business owner fed up after another shooting at nearby food mart)