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Armed citizen stops what could have been much, much worse

Originally ran here as:
"Owner's son shot in holdup attempt behind restaurant"
by Robert F. Moore
The Charlotte Observer
December 11, 2001

Victim fired back at man as he fled from Bill Spoon's Barbecue

Charlotte, North Carolina -- An employee at a south Charlotte restaurant was shot Monday during an attempted robbery, as he struggled with his attacker over a gun.

But, police say the gunman outside Bill Spoon's Barbecue was not the only one armed.

About 3:20 p.m., the would-be-robber walked toward the restaurant owner's son near a meat cooler behind the restaurant at 5524 South Blvd, near Tyvola Road. Police and relatives said the man demanded cash.

"He told my son that if he didn't give him money, he'd go inside and kill everyone in the restaurant," Bill Spoon said.

Mark Spoon and the robber fought over the gun, police said. It went off at least once, striking Spoon in the upper arm. Police said the owner's son used his own gun to fire at least four shots at his assailant, who was last seen running toward Old Pineville Road. Spoon was treated at Carolinas Medical Center and released.

The victim's father was inside the restaurant during the shooting and did not hear the gunfire.

"I didn't know what happened until my son literally fell in the back door," he said.

The shooter, a black man, is about 6 feet tall and was dressed in black, including a ski mask, police said. A more complete description of the man or a possible getaway vehicle was not immediately available. Police said the robber may have been shot.

Anyone with information should call Crime Stoppers at (704) 334-1600.

The restaurant closed about 20 minutes before the shooting. There were a few employees, but no customers inside. None of the other employees was hurt.

"I've been in business here off and on for 38 years," Bill Spoon said. "Nothing like this has ever happened."

Robert F. Moore: (704) 358-5934

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We'll take one step at a time, and the first is necessarily - given the political realities - very modest. We'll have to start working again to strengthen the law, and then again to strengthen the next law and again and again. Our ultimate goal, total control of handguns, is going to take time. The first problem is to slow down production and sales. Next is to get registration. The final problem is to make possession of all handguns and ammunition (with a few exceptions) totally illegal. Pete Shields, founder of Handgun Control, Inc., New Yorker Magazine, June 26, 1976, pg. 53

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