GASTONIA, N.C. — A camera inside a convenience store captured the moments when a robber held a gun to a clerk holding her baby and a customer.
The robber fired two shots before leaving the store with cash.
The clerk said at one point, she and the man who came running in with a gun had a normal conversation.
CLICK PLAY to watch the surveillance video
She thought he had given up on the plan to rob the store, then one casual smile ignited a burst of anger.
The video shows the man wave a gun at the clerk as she leans back holding her 1-year-old daughter tightly.
Police said another man stood look out outside of the Mini Mart on Bessemer City Road.
She said she tried to stall him.
"He pointed the gun at me all the way to the register,” the clerk said.
Video shows the robber lower the gun and put it in his pocket. She asked questions and learned he was a 20-year-old father.
"I said, 'I have a baby too, but just put the gun down, don't point it,’" the clerk said.
They spoke for about two minutes.
A customer came in and didn’t notice the robbery until it was too late. The customer, who was scared at first, smiled, and the robber charged at him.
He backed up and fired a shot.
"It was a turning point,” the clerk said.
It disturbed police who watched the video.
"I believe it irritated the suspect. At that point, he wanted to let them know he meant business so he fired the gun,” Sgt. Heath McMullen, with Gastonia police, said.
Police believe the men captured on video running from the store may have robbed two Hispanic stores in Charlotte and another one in Huntersville.
Investigators said a robber accidentally fired a shot in the Huntersville store.
“(He) is a violent offender in my opinion,” McMullen said.
Before firing the shot, the robber allowed the camera to get a good look at his face.
The clerk said she is cautious and watches anytime the door opens. She hoped police catch the men soon.
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