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Suspect Killed By Store Owner After Brandishing Weapon

Originally ran here
Ran here also as:
"No Charges In Bait-Shop Robbery Case"
February 5, 2002

ANDERSON, SOUTH CAROLINA -- No charges will be filed in Tuesday's fatal shooting of an apparent robber by the man whose store he was holding up.

Deputies said that Leroy Long, owner of Long's Fishing Center on Highway 24 near Lake Hartwell, acted in self defense when he shot Benjamin Davis Ellington.

According to witnesses, Ellington came into the shop with another man and asked for directions to Table Rock.

Anne Long, who owns the shop with her husband, Leroy, said that the apparent robber began backing her husband into a corner, waving what looked like a knife.

"It looked like a knife blade, and he was just swinging it. He just kept backing (Leroy Long) up until he backed him into the back room," Anne Long told WYFF News 4's Terrie Foster. "Leroy grabbed the gun and kept trying to push him away and he wouldn't go away."

Leroy Long then opened fire with two guns, hitting Ellington, who died just after 9 a.m.

Investigators said that the weapon turned out to be a screwdriver.

The other man in the store and two men who were waiting outside were questioned by deputies, but released.

"I was terrified. I didn't know what was going on. Then I heard the gunshot," customer Cheryl Willhoit told News 4.

Anne Long said that she and her husband have friends who own a store in Georgia, where an employee was killed during a recent armed robbery.

"He was up here as late as yesterday begging us to get out of the convenience store business," she told News 4.

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