Only on 12: Gun store owner speaks out after shooting 3 would-be burglars

Three weeks after shooting three would-be burglars and killing one of them, a gun store owner spoke only to News 12's Hope Jensen. (WRDW-TV / Aug. 29, 2012)
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News 12 This Morning / Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2012

BELVEDERE, S.C. -- The doors are open again at Guns and Ammo Gunsmith in North Augusta, but tire marks on the floor and an unfinished wall are daily reminders for owner Stephen Bayezes of one of the scariest moments of his life.

"It's a haunting thought. It literally is a haunting thought when you see the tire tracks, you hear the tires," he said. "Everybody assures you that you just did what you had to do to protect your family. They say it'll heal over time, but when does time go away? It's something that nobody ever wants to do."

On Aug. 9, three men drove a van into the side of his store. It was a smash-and-grab robbery that set off an alarm and woke him from his sleep.

He went to check it out and says what he heard will stay in his mind forever.

"Shoot the [explicative] and I heard a gun cock," he said. "I mean they would've shot me, in my mind, with no reservation. If that firearm had been loaded, I might've been a statistic."

Bayezes started shooting, hitting all three men.

"Is this something you ever wanna do in your life?" he asked. "No. Something you have to do? If you're forced to it, you've got to."

It's an image that still sits with him during the night.

"Two nights ago I thought I was getting shot by one of these perpetrators," he said. "Woke up in a cold sweat. I mean I seen the bullet come out of the gun and shoot me. It's a nightmare."

A nightmare he's working to make sure never happens again.

"We're trying to protect everything again to try and stop this," he said. "We've enhanced security more, added more cameras, everything else you can do to the place. I mean, it's a fortress. How much more do you have to do to it to protect your livelihood?"

Bayezes said the whole thing took only one minute. They got away with 50 guns, but they have now all been returned safely.