MARION - A Marion store owner confronted four suspects trying to cash counterfeit checks, then chased them outside with a handgun and fired warning shots into the air, authorities said Friday afternoon.
According to a news release, Marion Police officers responded to a report of an armed robbery on East Court Street shortly after 2 p.m.
Officers arrived at Alivas Multiservices located at 204 East Court where they were met by the owner of the business, Ismael Vasquez. The owner told officers that four Hispanic males entered his business and attempted to cash checks. One of the checks was cashed in excess of $800, according to the news release.
Vasquez called the company listed on the check to verify its validity and learned it was counterfeit.
He confronted the four men and they ran from the business. Vasquez then retrieved a .357 handgun from the store and began pursuing the suspects out of the store. Once outside, Vasquez stated, he fired six rounds from the handgun into the air in attempt to stop the suspects.
The suspects continued to flee on foot. Vazquez returned to the store and called police. Two of the suspects were located a short time later hiding in a wooded area not far from the scene. Those suspects were being interviewed Friday afternoon by Marion Police investigators. The other two suspects have not yet been located at the time of the release.
For safety and precautionary reasons, a temporary lockdown was placed on several locations in the area while officers searched for the suspects.
Officers on the scene were interviewing Vasquez and learned that he never observed a weapon from any of the suspects, nor was there a threat of a weapon. It was determined at that time that the businesses could resume normal operation.
Several agencies including McDowell County Sheriff’s Office, and North Carolina Wildlife and McDowell Emergency Management responded to the scene to assist with the incident.
This is a developing story.
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