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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.


he was loved by some people

he was loved by some people and yes he had a mental problem and no a crack head

Future robbers

Present and future robbers take note. Is it worth it?

Justice served

If the judicial system can't get it right, the clerks will. It is refreshing to see more of the clerks put a bullet in these worthless scumbags.

Maybe they will learn

Hope the criminals are listening to the news in all areas in NC. Don't come to do a crime if you don't plan to be shot or something else by people who are trying to defend themselves or their homes or loved ones.

Get out and get a real job and you won't have to steal!!!!

Do the the price. Sad but true.

What they will learn

is to shoot the clerk first and then take the money.
I'm all for putting these scumbags thieves in the ground, but this is going to go wrong in a hurry.

shooting first

Before the days of armed clerks it was not entirely uncommon for nice boys making their first mistake to rob a store and then kill the witnesses.

I disagree

I don't think we can give into thugs, out of fear of making them more upset or escalating violence. Unfortunately, all they will understand is a taste of their own medicine.

I am so afraid that you are

I am so afraid that you are correct. Hopefully not, but an unfortunate possibility. But, on the other side of the coin, many clerks are shot even when the comply and hand over the money, so, in the long haul, maybe they (clerks) are better off defending themselves. I firmly believe in the old saying...."when seconds count, the police are only minutes away".

One in every croud

What do you think just give them the money?? That will just cause more and more crooks to start robbing poor people trying to make a living in this hard world. Get real, wake up!
J Stanley

I disagree. Criminals will

I disagree. Criminals will think twice when faced with certain death. I'm willing to bet that if they start walking in and shooting first, the community will take care of that nonsense.

Well guess what?

Well guess what buttercup....sometimes they do shoot first. So should all the clerks just sit there and hope for the best?

You are the bleeding heart

You are the bleeding heart problem of these times! Live by the sword....

Cooperate and you may still be killed

Clerks and store owners are routinely killed because of a small amount of cash, a gang initiation, or for the pure thrill of it.

When the residents of Coffeyville, Kansas stood up to the Dalton Gang, four of them died. They also killed four of the five-member gang, and wounded the fifth who was then imprisoned. On that day in 1892 the Dalton Gang ceased to exist.

Today, Coffeyville not only has a museum dedicated to the four men, but holds an annual celebration and rodeo. The people still value and respect the men who made the greatest sacrifice standing up for what was right.

We either stand up to criminals or live on our knees before them in fear. Your choice.


I hope not.


Sorry Mr. Simmons. I won't stand by and hope some dopehead won't shoot. I'll shoot any robber first.

Congrats to the clerk

Nice aim. Well done. Ain't life rough sometimes?

victim shoots robber

Hooray ! The victim of an apparent robbery attempt shoots the perp
in the head. Bet he thinks better of trying this again if he survives.
More people should arm themselves if they are in a position that
frequently gets robbed

Dead Scumbags .......

do not rob anybody else. There are jobs available for anybody willing to work.