Did Shopowner Take 'Thou Shalt Not Steal' too Far?

It happens all over the country, and the results can be seen all over the Internet.

In Phoenix, a jewelry store owner fought back after two robbers used mace to try to subdue him. In Tacoma, Wash., a clerk resisted an attempted robbery by turning the robber's own weapon on him.

And it happened on 125th Street in New York's Harlem. The neighborhood is home to the famed Apollo Theater -- and the lesser-known Blue Flame Supply Co., where 72-year-old Coast Guard veteran Charles Augusto Jr., known as Gus, had worked for 50 years. Now he owns the place.

"There wasn't much business, it was a boring day," Augusto said, recalling the afternoon of Aug. 13. "This is where I was sitting when they came in, and I heard the front door. As you can see, I couldn't see how many of those people came in, I couldn't tell how many people had guns, 'cause you can't see from down there. ... All I know is the kid with the hoodie on and the heavy, heavy sweatshirt had a gun, and he was standing there pointing it at Dorothy," who was one of his employees.

VIDEO: A shop owner fights back and kills two armed robbers with a shotgun.

Augusto said he remembered the standoff in every detail.

"He had his hand through the window, I think it was his left hand," he said. "He doesn't know I'm here. And he's threatening her: 'Where's the money, Where's the money? I'll kill you if you don't give me the money.' And I'm sitting here, and I'm saying, 'Hey kid. ...' He got startled, he jumped up. He got startled. And now he's waving the gun back and forth."

Augusto said the man couldn't decide whom to point the gun at.

"He didn't know what to do," Augusto said. "I told him, 'There's no money. Nobody came in and bought anything today, I'm telling the truth.'"

VIDEO: Store Clerk Recounts Shooting Armed Robber

Another of Augusto's employees, who goes by the name of Jay, was near the front door struggling with the intruders.

"Then I told the kid to go. And then the one in the red shirt came up and said, 'I need help,' to subdue Jay," Augusto said. "If Jay didn't put up a fight ... I couldn't have done nothing.

"Once he went down there, that's when he made a mistake."

'These Kids Had Guns'

The assailant's "mistake" would cost him his life. Left alone while the first robber went back to help subdue Jay, Augusto reached for a gun he'd bought 20 years ago after his store, which sells stoves and other kitchen equipment, was robbed at gunpoint.

"The ammunition was in there 20 years, I didn't even know if the ammunition was gonna fire. These kids had guns. ... Oh, Christ, if this thing doesn't fire, bye-bye Gus," he said. "I'm a dead duck. I couldn't let them keep pistol-whipping this kid out there. So I stepped out in the aisle and I watched Jay so I wouldn't hit him with the damn shotgun, and I fired off three rounds. Bang bang bang. And I saw that the threat had diminished. One was down on the ground, he was dead. And I saw the other three trying to get out the door. ... They had the door open, and they were trying to get out, so I didn't shoot no more."

But the three shots Gus did fire were enough to kill two of the men, James Morgan, 29, and Raylin Footman, 21. The other two, Shamel McCloud and Bernard Witherspoon, were wounded, and have since been indicted on robbery charges. They have since plead not guilty.

It got us wondering if there were any similarities between this shooting and the case of Bernard Goetz, the so-called subway vigilante, another white man who, 25 years ago shot four young black men in New York City.

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