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UPDATE: Man shot during robbery has died

READ MORE: UPDATE: Man shot during robbery has died

LAKE WACCAMAW, NC (WWAY) -- Store clerks in New Hanover County have become famous for protecting themselves from would-be robbers. Now that trend has moved out to Columbus County, where there was a a robber was shot and killed near Lake Waccamaw.

"We've been here like 20 some years and ain't nothing ever happened like that," neighbor Alton Nichols said. "I don't see why someone would do something like that. It don't make sense."

Though folks in Lake Waccamaw say their small town is usually pretty calm, many say they don't hesitate to protect themselves if someone threatens their life and don't blame the employee for what he did.

Sam Melville, who lives near the store, says the robber got what he deserved.

"Good riddance," Melville said. "I'm sorry. It's just rewards. He earned what he got."

Lake Waccamaw Police say an employee at Waccamaw Outdoor Supply gunned down a man trying to steal from the store around lunchtime. They say things like this usually don't happen in their quiet town.

"When something, a violent crime occurs, it, of course, concerns everybody in the community," Police Chief Scott Hyatt said. "We pride ourselves on having a safe environment here, but you can't plan for the unexpected like that."

Chief Hyatt says the would-be robber did have a weapon, a sledge hammer.

"This is all still very fresh," Hyatt said. "We are trying to get closure with the family, out of respect for them, before we disclose the other things. It just seems like the right thing to do."

Neighbors say they heard three gunshots, then rushed to the scene. They say one of those three gunshots hit the suspect in the head. They also say it was not the first time he tried to rob the store.

"He ran over there the first time last week and then came in this week and this is what happened," Nichols said.

Melville says what's tragic is the employee will have to live with what he did while defending his workplace.

"The tragedy is that he was forced into the position that he had to do it," Melville said. "He did not create the scenario. The other guy did. Now when he wakes up in the morning or he sleeps at night, it's going to be in his head that he's killed a human being."

Police are not confirming the identity of the shooter or the robbery suspect at this time. They say the man shot was rushed to Columbus Regional Healthcare System in Whiteville, then transported to New Hanover Regional Medical Center in Wilmington where he died Wednesday evening.

"We believe the intent was to try and steal guns," Chief Hyatt said.

Hyatt says he doesn't plan to release the name of the employee for fear the employee could be targeted for retribution.

So far there are no charges in this case.

The shooting is still under investigation.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.



Yeah, right. Let the cops handle it.

I had about $3,000 worth of jewelry stolen from my home years ago from a break-in. I worked many hours and it took me a few years to buy that jewelry. Some bozo comes in that doesn't even have a job and walks away with it free of charge. The cops never found the jewelery or the bozo.

Ditto with a stolen cell phone a few years ago. The thief ran up a bill for $800 on my cell phone. Most of his calls were to a local number, which the cops wouldn't even investigate because they were "too busy with other major crimes". Because I didn't notice it missing right away, the cell phone company expected me to pay the bill. I couldn't pay it so they reported me to the Credit Bureau and it ruined my credit for seven years.

Another ditto with a stolen gas tank in the back of my boat sitting in my back yard. All they ever do is write up a report, file it away, and you never hear from them again.

The threat is real when an armed robber walks into a store to rob it. If you want to make it home to your family that night, you better be prepared to take the life of someone else. If not, he will be going home to his family, and you may be going to the morgue.

The Blood Is On His Own Hands

The robber brought his own death upon himself. If he hadn't been in the process of committing a robbery, he wouldn't have placed himself in a position to be killed. The Bible says, "If you live by the sword (or gun), you die by the sword (or gun)".

When a robber walks into a store with a gun with the intent to rob it, and potentially harm those inside, he is taking his own life into his own hands. He doesn't know if the clerk (or one of the customers) has a weapon, and he doesn't know if he will walk back out or be shot. All robbers are aware of the danger. The clerk and the customers are under a threat of violence by the presence of a weapon. They have a right to defend themselves, with deadly force, if necessary.

The guy robbed the store before. Just because no one was hurt that time doesn't mean someone wouldn't be hurt the next time. In fact, the odds are greater that someone would be hurt. I'm not rejoicing because this young man was killed, but his own actions are what caused his death.


What would you do ? Ask him if the gun was loaded ?
Like I said your crazy.

No blood on anyone's hands...

"What a sad world we live in!" With that comment, you are correct, but it IS changing and quickly! You must understand, my timid one, that when an armed robber enters a business with the goal of terrorizing the clerk to hand over their money, they have entered another world. There are state and federal laws recently enacted to allow law-abiding citizens to fight back with deadly force. Guess what? It's working very well so far!

Allow me to explain a basic and fundamental right that I and the other law-abiding citizens have in hand, this is a very simple and basic concept that even with your low IQ, can get a grasp of: If and when any criminal puts MY life OR the life of any family member or freind in fear of loss of life because that terrorist wants to take my things or rape or pillage or whatever his intent may be, I will respond with deadly force to prevent it...period. I am a licensed and trained concealed carry permit holder and visit the range on a weekly basis. My target grouping is getting better and better. I hope and pray that I never, ever have to use my weapon on another human being, but threaten me and I most certainly will.

So go start a new support group for gun control, have all of your followers raise their right hand and say, "HILE!". That's what Hitler did...


What a lame thing to say. I will offer my address to any DA who wishes to have it. Remember, we live in the land of free speech. To suggest I have blood on my hands because I state that I would defend my family against a potentially violent situation is absurd to say the least! To clarify for you, when an officer asks a person to drop their weapon it is only when that person has not pointed that weapon at the individual; once that happens they are instantly considered a threat and are at risk of being shot. A sledgehammer is the same as a gun, one strike to the head and your potentially dead. A weapon is a weapon. Come to my home or business and point a weapon at me and you will become a target....period!

You are so LOST

You have no idea what you are saying. First you don't even have half of your facts straight about the incident. Get a life. I HATE A THIEF!

No reason

Although the young man, whomever he may be, chose to do something wrong is not a reason for people to be so hateful. We should never rejoice when someone dies like that, even if his choice caused it. The ultimate responsibility was his because he chose to enter a place with the intent to rob it and I do not fault the business owner for doing what he had to do. I don't believe any of us would like to kill someone, but we do want to protect ourselves and our family.

As the man said in the interview, the business owner will have to live with it for the rest of his life. I hope he will be able to come to terms with what he did - that he did it to protect himself, and that he will be able to move on.

For those out there even comtemplating walking into a place of business to take what does not belong to you, I hope this message comes across to you. People are fed up with low lifes trying to take what is not theirs, and they are going to fight back. Beware!!

Live with it

I'd gladly live with the fact that I defended myself and my family, even if it meant taking someones life! Say i'm cold-hearted if you wish but that is my legal right as a citizen of North Carolina. The law states that if somone enters your property unlawfully they can be considered a threat, and it is your legal right to handle it as you see fit. Gone are the days of homeowners being charged with murder for killing someone that broke into THEIR home!

So Far...

I like the way the article ends saying no charges so far. The law that took effect on December 1, 2011 ties the hands of the DA. This is a good thing, because DA's have tried to charge people for defending themselves and their families in the past. It is about time a law was written that helps the ordinary person preserve their life and the things they have worked hard to get. To many of these thugs were used to being able to take what they want knowing people were scared of being arrested for defending themselves. Now they are on notice people are going to fight back, and be protected by the law instead of being attacked by it.

man shot during robbery

At least now the taxpayers won't be on the hook for millions to defend him. Dirt nap time.

To RSimmons

I so wish they would listen to you (and me) - - unfortunately, you are right, and when desperate addicts are jonesing (or violent thieves attack), their first thought will be to go ahead & kill the clerk rather than take the chance that the clerk might be packing heat. We shouldn't be encouraging vigilante justice because next time, it might be an inexperienced, young clerk who pays the price. Maybe your daughter or son.

vigilante justice

Self defense and vigilantism are two separate phenomena. Vigilante justice might be invoked if someone fails to defend himself. Vigilantes go after the perceived perp after the fact of the crime. Self Defense is an act performed during the attempted commission of a crime in order to avoid being killed or damaged by the perpetrator of the crime.

No Way

So you're saying that clerks and customers should do nothing when a robber walks in with the intent to steal, possibly rape and murder them? They should just stand by and give in to the threat of violence?

No thanks. I carry a concealed weapon with me at all times, and if one of these losers confronts me with a gun, I'll defend myself with whatever means necessary. If there's a choice between him or me going home to their family at night, it's gonna be me. I won't feel guilty because he brought it on himself.

To 3130 and RSimmons. You

To 3130 and RSimmons. You two are not alone here. There are many scenarios that could go fatally wrong beginning with your contention that next time an armed robber will become more dangerously aggressive. An innocent bystander could be killed in a crossfire, an armed citizen could be mistakenly killed by police fire....

I don't remember all the particulars of the story but it was recently that a trained ATF agent intervened in a pharmacy holdup on Long Island. The agent was KILLED by friendly fire. An off duty cop helping in the situation shot the assisting citizen.

For those of you on this forum who like to perform their "chicken-hawk dance" on graves, you can be of good cheer! The perpetrator was shot dead also.

Sad state of affairs

Nobody is going to fault the clerk for defending himself. But, why on earth would all of you folks be so glib, almost happy about it? The guy that died no doubt has a tragic story...and his Mother weeps today. So, let's have some humanity, shall we?

You damn dirty albino ape

How dare any of you maggots speak like you & your grand parents have paid retribution for your inhumane crimes against an entire race(s) of people. The joking justice system has failed to punish the wicked white boy for his very act of being alive. You insensitive incapable of compassion rabbid monsters . Don't for one moment forget that you are decendants of murderers & rapists, of thieves & oppressers. You are savage at thought, at your first steps you have been taught hatred & the how to be as devilish as your four fathers. That man was wrong, but how can any pink nut having human find fault in this present day buffoonery of a lifestyle that his grandparents started. Slap Yourself.

How Is Race A Factor In This?

Do you know something about this story that WWAY didn't disclose? Was race a factor? As for my Grandparents, they were poor Ohio and Pennsylvania farmers. My Great great grandparents who were alive in the mid 1800's were all abolitionists . You may find this hard to believe, but most whites in the mid 1800's were not slave owners, even in the South. The majority of whites went to battle to die for your rights. How is this devilish? Please tell. Yes, I'm glad the punk was put down...white, black, yellow, red or whatever color he was.


Here we go. I guess you are blaming Jesus for what happened to blacks years and years and years ago. I didn't have one thing to do with that. I don't want to hear your poor pitiful me story. Get out, get a job and get off welfare like everyone else. Gimme Gimme Gimme and it's all EVERYONE'S fault for the things that happen to me. I'm so sick of blacks playing the race card. By the way, this isn't the topic of discussion in the first place. CONCENTRATE ON WHAT YOU READ.

You are...

You are exactly what's wrong with this society today. You think you are entitled...that nice things and laziness are owed to you. Think again name-calling whackjob.

Charles Warren???? Is that

Charles Warren???? Is that you???

History Lesson

Africans themselves played a large role in the slave trade. They sold their captives (which were usually from neighboring or enemy ethnic groups) to European buyers, which was a common practice during that era. At times, kings and businessmen would sell criminals to the buyers so that they could no longer commit crimes in that area. Most other slaves were obtained from kidnappings, or through raids that occurred at gunpoint through JOINT ventures between the Africans and the Europeans.

Get a clue. When you've lost your temper, you've lost the argument.

You're exactly right!

That's why we got all of the dumb, slow ones.


Please lay off the crackpipe and seek help.


It's so sad that this store clerk is going to have the memory of having to take a life but I've always held and maintained the thought "Better Him Than Me". The would be robber made one mistake to many and it cost him his life.

Way to go

This is just not locally but across the nation. People are arming them selves and protecting there lives every day. It a sign of the times and people are tired of becoming victim to these sorts of crimes. As quoted from "What they will learn" "is to shoot the clerk first and then take the money" Well I hate to break the news to you but there already doing that and have been for some time. I would rather have my firearm and defend my self then not have one and wish I had it. Your statement holds no Merritt. Now as to the owner of the business I say congratulations and thank you for standing up and protecting your self. If I was the DA. I would make an example of the criminal and send out a clear message that crimes like this will not be tolerated by the great citizens of our community. Also remember people, Its called the Castle Doctrine. The owner should NOT be charged and commended for his actions.


Talk about suffering the consequences of your actions...

No Charges???

"Chief Hyatt said. "We believe the intent was to try and steal guns."

So far there are no charges in this case."

Why would there be any charges? Justice is served! If someone comes into my home or business with ill intent they will be subject to the same outcome. I'm sick of politically correct America......this action deserves the penalty served!


The robber was planning on moving on to bigger things by trying to steal guns to replace his sledge hammer. Eventually, he would have shot someone. You don't steal guns to have them lay on a shelf somewhere unused. He caused his own death.

Hope for law abiding citizens

I wanted to personally thank all of the clerks recently who have stepped up and defended themselves, their friends, families, fellow employees and the general public from these parasites who think they have the right to victimize a law abiding citizen! Heroes like you are finally putting criminals on notice that the days of terrorizing hard working people are coming to an end.

Just a note, how stupid does a criminal have to be to not know that there is ALWAYS somebody carrying in a store that sells guns? I have been purchasing guns for years and I can tell you that if you go into a store where guns are for sale, there is at least 1 person who in either open or concealed carrying and they are a far better shot than the idiot criminal.

Thanks again heroes!

thats sad

For you all that think that its so great that someones son,dad or brother has gotten shot and may die you sould stop and think about what your saying sure it was a stupid mistake but does he deserve to die? I dont blame the clerk for defending him/herself but its sad that it turned out this way. We should pray for these individuals and not jump to judge because you never know what goes on in a person life to make them do things.