Aiken store owner says a box of cigarettes saved him from getting shot

The Aiken County Sheriff's Office is looking for two suspects they say robbed and shot at a store owner early Friday morning.

The morning started normally for the owner of Shop Smart. He spoke to us off camera and said that he was getting out of his car to open up his store on Whiskey Road, when two men approached him. One of the men was armed with a shotgun, the other with a pistol, Capt. Eric Abdullah, with the Aiken County Sheriff's Office, said.

"He was getting out of his vehicle when he was approached by two black males wearing some type of bandanas around their face," Abdullah said. "Both of them were armed and they were demanding money." 

The victim said one suspect was searching through his car, and the other was standing in front of him, holding him at gunpoint. The victim was holding a big box of cigarettes. He said he shoved it into the gunman's hands, pushed him away and took off running.

When he ran, the suspects started shooting at him. He said they shot at him five times, and his life flashed before his eyes.

"Two witnesses that saw the two suspects running away were two volunteer firemen who also met with the responding deputies out there," Abdullah said.

The victim told us that the box of cigarettes he was holding helped distract the gunman, and may have even prevented him from getting shot.

"They should be considered armed and dangerous and very much a danger to the public," Abdullah said.

The victim said he was blessed because the suspects got away with nothing, and he left the incident without a scratch.

If you have any information on the robbery, give the Aiken County Sheriff's Office a call at 803-642 -1761.

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