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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.

Comment on this Story

  • mordant

    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.

  • Guest857

    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.

  • Commonsensenotcommontoday

    EVERYONE should celebrate the death of a criminal. Why would you not?

  • Guest_99x

    1165, every now and again this guy brags about his prowess during the Vietnam war. He also has admitted to career length military service, that he collects VA benefits and now purportedly has a successful business.

    Common is likely one of two choices, an office pinky who never left stateside during the ‘Nam era and continued his “career” in the military; or worse, a foul-up who caused one of his own either death or injury in combat and is acting out now because he is a failure…. He is living through the barrel of another man’s gun.

    I feel safe to say that a real man, a real combat vet or police officer who took a life in the line of duty would NEVER celebrate a death, a death of an enemy or an alleged criminal perpetrator in the way that some of the miscreants on this board do.

  • guest111

    If he were my son I would have known what he was capable of and would have gotten him professional help. Did his parents do that or did they just fold their hands and shake their heads? This was not an upstanding citizen and anyone who knew him knew he had problems. Put the blame where it belongs.

  • Guest111

    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.

  • Guest55555

    I’m also a Christian, but I disagree with your statement that, “God determines our fate, not us as people”.

    God gave us all freedom of choice. We can choose good, or we can choose evil. With every choice comes a consequence. Remember when God said, “Choose you this day whom you will serve”? This robber chose evil, and he paid for it with his life. Ultimately, God allowed this to happen because of the bad choice that the robber made. Along with freedom of choice comes sometimes hefty consequences.

  • Challengetheworld

    It wasn’t my family member, because if it was I would have denounced him a long time ago. Wake up – justice was served.

  • Guest 1911

    The problem is when you’re confronted by someone with a gun you don’t have the luxury of knowing if the person is scared and fell on hard times just trying to get by, or if they’re just a plain ruthless killer who wants your money. I do agree that all these people commiting armed robberies do have grieving parents that mourn their loss. But you never know if the person confronting you is ready to kill and at that point better that the would be victim doesn’t have to have his family grieving his or her loss. It is a dangerous world and you must protect yourself and the ones you love first. The time you take to wonder if the person robbing you is a real threat could mean your life.

  • 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.

  • Guest55555

    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.

  • Guest55555

    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.

  • Guest461

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

  • Anon

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

  • jeremy

    Heartless bastards???? Lol 1st off the stupid sob was willingly breaking the law! 2nd off if that’s not reason enuf then listen to this, he goes to the store for a 2nd time with a knife lol repeat a knife tto rob a store that has guns repeat guns GUNS, so if shooting him for breaking law with intent of using a weapon (knife) isn’t logical enuf reason then his lack of intelligence should be

  • Guest 1911

    You had me going for a minute

  • nchilltopper

    Go sympathize somewhere else! Not one of my family members would ROB A STORE WITH A GUN, or without!!!!!! All of you people crying about someones Son, Brother or whatever being dead need to stop and think how you would feel if some lowlife thug broke into your house and terrorized you for your belongings. Remember Eve Carson? That girl was savagely murdered for a few dollars….she begged and pleaded for her life. She actually cared for the welfare of her attackers but was given no choice of life or death. These SCUMBAGS should get what they deserve. How about all of you bleeding heart sympathizers start a forum for your own personal gratification, we’re sick of hearing you spew your acceptance of criminal activity with no consequence!

  • Guest Lee

    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.

  • Guest_99x

    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.

  • dittos

    …going “threw”..?? ooook You’re right about one thing…getting your head blown off ain’t worth it. But he made that choice…dirt nap time!

  • CCRES

    Maybe “HE” should have thought about that before he entered the store with intent of stealing something.
    You people are so brilliant with some of your comments and wise ideas.

  • Bill

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

  • Guest3130

    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.

  • C’mon now

    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?

  • Robbed by a billion white men

    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.

  • Ken

    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.

  • Rex Gore

    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.

  • Dawnsa

    Talk about suffering the consequences of your actions…

  • nchilltopper

    “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!

  • guesty

    Please lay off the crackpipe and seek help.

  • Guest1165

    You sure seem to enjoy stories of killing. Any type, any kind, as long as someone gets killed.

  • Office Fan

    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!

  • Open mind

    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.

  • Guest26

    Did man have on mask,and if he did how can you tell who is who plus they said that he tried to rob store last week did they know for sure it was him….(just saying) AND was it on the news channel’s LAST WEEK IF HE DID’T HAVE GUN, WHY NOT HIS LEG JUST SAYING AGAIN?????

  • GN

    Nice shooting !

  • me

    A MANS LIFE WAS TAKEN ONLY GOD CAN JUDGE YOU DONT KNOW A PERSONS SITUATION OR WHAT THERE GOING THREW NOTHING IN THAT STORE WAS WORTH THAT MANS LIFE…..

  • me

    A BOY IS DEAD YOU HEARTLESS BASTARDS THAT COULD HAVE VERY WELL BEEN YOUR CHILD OR FAMILY MEMEBER YOU NEVER KNOW WATCH WHAT YOU SAY ONLY GOD CAN JUDGE!!!!!

  • Concerned for the Family

    I read all of the comments and it sad that everybody is so excited that a young man lost his life. I personally know him and his parents. He was not a crack head as someone said. He was a child of God and a child of two loving parents. He was wrong for going into that store and yes he won’t be going back. My heart still goes out for his family, so even though he was wrong, please note that he has family that are probably reading your comments. Everyone makes mistakes and will have to answer to God for them. Put yourselves in his family’s shoes. There is no need to belittle my comments, I understand he was committing a crime it is just sad things had to turn out this way! Thanks and God Bless!

  • American Values

    This is just wrong. Whats next? Husbands and wives with a pistol next to the front door, just in case? Shooting neighbors who they think are robbing them? Guns are ruining America! They’re too accessible, people think they need to protect themselves from what? Did anyone ask WHY this person did what he did? Is he desperate? Is he not getting enough help from us? We’re falling farther down every day, I’m afraid to go to a store anymore, I’ll be shot reaching for a pack of gum.

    We need to do more for these people, not shoot them!!! We can help!

    Just kidding, shoot them, twice if you need to. Protect yourselves, your family, and liberals too. They need help the most, bunch of sheep.

  • Commonsensenotcommontoday

    Let’s not forget that the manager of the supermarket out there shot and killed a robber a few years back. It became apparent that cooperating wasn’t calming the guy, and the manager sincerely believed that he and the store employees were about to be killed. He followed the age-old adage, “If your enemy comes to kill you, rise up and kill him first.”

  • God knows

    As Christians we need to stay focused on God and pray for one another. There is no need for all of the bashing and wishing harm on any man. Even though what he did was wrong, God determines out fate not us as people. I will continue to pray for both families because its hard to bare a death or the reality of someone killing someone else. My goal out of this comment is just to keep you eyes on the prize and focus on GOD.

  • columbuscounty

    This was a store that sold firearms,handguns,rifles and shotguns.
    Didn’t he know the people that sold them also knew how to use them?
    Oh well, he asked for it and he got it.

  • Guest757

    Can you believe this guy was that STUPID that he tried to rob the same store last week…

    Way to go store clerk !!!!!

    You know after the investigation it will be a good shot.. and it was

  • Guest0127

    This is a crackhead. This is a crackhead tring to rob a store. This is what happens to a crackhead’s brain when a slug goes through it. Get It!

  • GrizzlyRN

    Good Job!

  • Giggles1960

    WAY TO GO!!! LESSON, WELL TAUGHT :)

  • Guest1234

    That.is.awesome!!

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