Harlem Store Owner Blows Robbers Away

Two other men were wounded when owner opened fire

Hasta la vista, baby. A Harlem restaurant-supply store owner unleashed a round of shotgun blasts on a gang of four robbers, killing two of them and wounding two others, cops said.

Having been robbed before, 72-year-old Charles (Gus) Augusto was prepared when he caught the burglars pistol-whipping his workers steady yesterday afternoon. With steady hands, he grabbed his 12-gauge shotgun, which he kept on hand for such situations, and blew two of the bandits into oblivion, police and witnesses told the Daily News

Augusto said he hadn't wanted to shoot the men; he had hoped to be able to talk them into leaving, but it just didn't work out that way. He says he didn't have any other option.

"They didn't believe there was no money; they were going to probably work us all over until they found it," Augusto told NBCNewYork. "I'll they had to do is put away the gun and go home; that would have been the end of it -- I wouldn't even call the police, but they wouldn't listen.  

The crooks stormed into the Kaplan Brothers’ Blue Flame on West 125th Street just after 3 p.m. and ordered employees to hand over the dough. When they didn't get what they wanted, one of the suspects turned on a male employee and whacked him in the head with the pistol, police said.

That's when Augusto, who was not charged last night, came out firing.

"There's nothing else I could do, but that doesn't make me feel any better," he said. "I'm not going to take anything lying down ... but I don't like hurting people either."

Twenty-nine-year-old Morgan James died at the scene and 21-year-old Raylin Footmon died at St. Luke’s Hospital. Footmon was the nephew of an NYPD cop, the Daily News reported. Two other alleged bandits, Bernard Witherspoon, 22, and Shamel McCloud, 21, were arrested after cops searched the area and found them wounded nearby. They were taken to St. Luke's in stable condition.

Detectives are still investigating, but cops late Friday said Augusto wouldn't be charged with anything.

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