NEW YORK (CBS/AP) Crooks better think twice when trying to hold up Charles Augusto Jr.'s New York City store. They might end up six feet under.
The 72-year-old man turned his 12-gauge shotgun on four armed bandits who tried to rob his restaurant supply store in Harlem Thursday, according to New York City police. And he is a good shot, too. He killed two and wounded the others, police said.
Augusto later told police he had bought the weapon 30 years ago following a robbery at his store, which sells and repairs commercial kitchen ranges.
The shooting occurred Thursday afternoon at Kaplan Brothers Blue Flame Corp. in a business district on West 125th Street in New York. After the men entered the store, they announced a robbery and pistol-whipped one employee, police said.
From about 20 feet away, Augusto raised the shotgun and fired three blasts, hitting all four suspects, police said. One died outside the front door. Afterward, his body could be seen covered with a white sheet.
Another suspect managed to cross the street, but collapsed, and was later pronounced dead at the hospital, police said. Trails of blood led police to the other two, who were arrested and taken to the hospital.
Stephany Blyn, 56, who rents a space from Augusto in the same building, said she has known him for 25 years. She said he runs a cash business that has been targeted before.
"I'm not totally amazed," she said. "It's pretty upsetting. I thought this neighborhood was getting safer."
The case is bound to draw comparisons to other examples of "vigilante justice" across the nation.
Video: Surveillance video from Reliable Discount Pharmacy shows Jerome Ersland's violent confrontation with two would-be robbers, courtesy of the Oklahoman.
This May, a pharmacy shop assistant in Oklahoma shot and killed one of the two would-be robbers that held him up. But shopkeeper Jerome Ersland was not treated as a victim. He was charged with first-degree murder in the case.
After his initial shot, Ersland chased after a second crook and then returned to the store and fired several more shots into the first man, leading prosecutors to consider it murder.
Police said Augusto would not be charged in the New York case.
"He's being treated as a witness and victim of an attempted armed robbery," said New York Police Department spokesman Paul Browne.