Apr. 30, 2013 5:45am Jason Howerton

A robber armed with a shotgun entered a package store in Irvington, Ala. on Monday anddemanded all the cash from the register. The criminal later discovered that he threatened the wrong guy — a father whose kids meant so much to him that he displayed unthinkable bravery when his life was in immediate danger.

The owner of the store, who asked to remain anonymous, said the robbery occurred five minutes before closing time on Monday. He was restocking beer when investigators say 34-year-old Charles Steele entered Sandie’s Beer Wine and Spirits in Irvington, Ala., with a sawed-off shotgun and ordered the owner to give him all the cash from the register.

“He had a shotgun and held it to my head. I saw my life passing by and I thought I wasn’t going to see my kids anymore. That’s why I got really angry. That’s why I went after him,” the store owner told WPMI-TV.

And when he says he “went after him,” he means it. The store owner pulled out his own gun and fired at the robber. He then followed the suspect out of the store and continued to fire at him as he tried to escape in a white Dodge Charger, according to Mobile County Sheriff Sam Cochran.

“That’s the second time I’ve shot a gun ever in my life and I couldn’t believe that I hit him,” the owner recalled.

The man said he still gets “jittery” every time the door rings at his store. He is apparently considering closing the store over the traumatic incident.

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“About 25 minutes later we received a call of one shot down on Two Mile Road. Deputies responded and found the suspect shot once in the torso. He was transported to the hospital. A search of the residence recovered the weapon used and the money seized,” Cochran said.

Police say Steele, the robbery suspect, admitted to robbing the store out of sheer desperation because he lost his job recently.

The store owner, though, rejects that excuse. He told WPMI-TV that he also lost his job a few years ago, but instead of stealing, he got back on his feet the honest way.

“I put all my life savings into this store. I borrowed money from the bank and my parents,” the owner explained. “It’s just been a bit over two years. That’s why we don’t have any employees. I work seven days a week and have two little girls I have to take care of.”

Police found the gun used in the robbery and the money stolen when they searched Steele’s home on Monday. He will be arrested and charged with first degree robbery when he is released from USA Medical Center.

Cochran said charges are unlikely against the store owner because he was defending his life and property, which he has a right to do under the law.

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