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Storeowner shoots robber after he threatens the lives of he and his customers

Originally ran here as:
"Suspect in Botched Gastonia Robbery Still on the Run"
by Janelle Martinez
October 29, 2001

Gastonia, North Carolina -- Gastonia police are on the lookout for a second suspect in a robbery, who got away after a store owner shot and killed an accomplice Wednesday night, police said.

Investigators say they have some good leads because the suspectís shoes fell off in the parking lot as he ran away from the scene.

The owner of the West Main Newsstand and Book Nook, Gary Cannon, pictured at right, told police he shot the first suspect because he was trying to rob his store.

District Attorney Mike Lands is still reviewing the case and has not decided whether to file charges against the store owner. But Lands said Thursday that it appears to be a case of self-defense.

The only way into the business is through a back door. Several customers who were in the store last night said they feared for their lives when two men wearing panty hose over their faces walked into the store and demanded money.

"I was thinking about my kid and my husband at home and if I was ever going to see them again," one witness said.

The suspects were carrying guns and threatened to kill them, witnesses said.

The storeowner says the robber stuck a gun in his face and threatened his life. But when the robber swung the gun around to point it at two pregnant women, the merchant says he reached into a friend's purse and shot Derick Christopher Foust, 29 in the throat and chest.

"It's scary when you got a gun in your face," Cannon said. "These young people don't realize that all of us are not going to go for that. I'm not going to work 140 hours a week and let somebody come in here and threaten my life and my business, my people and me not protect myself. I'd rather be dead."

After the shooting, one of the customers started performing CPR.

Eva Colinger is four months pregnant. She took the mask off Foust's face and wiped his mouth.

"I prayed that maybe he would breathe if he had kids, if he had a wife or you know a mother," she said. "And thatís what I kept telling him is that heís got to breathe."

Foust died at Gaston Memorial Hospital.

There were six people inside the store at the time of the shooting, including two pregnant women.

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