Employees at North Carolina cellphone store nearly beat robbery suspect to death

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Police have released the 911 calls after employees at a southwest Charlotte cellphone store caught and beat one of the suspects accused of robbing the business Thursday night.

WSOC reported that it happened just before 7 p.m. at United Wireless Group on Green Park Circle.

Police said two men came into the store and stole several cellphones. Employees caught one of them and nearly beat him to death.

In the 911 call, the 911 operator is heard asking if anyone was injured during the robbery.

"Um no, but we got one of the guys here," 911 caller said.

"OK, what do you mean one of the guys here? The suspect?" operator said.

"There's a couple people with him. I believe we've got on in the parking lot held down," 911 caller said.

Officials said when paramedics arrived, they said the suspect "was in need of immediate medical attention" and had to use CPR to revive him. He was taken to the hospital in critical condition.

The other suspect sped away in a U-Haul truck, which police later found abandoned on Center Park Drive.

Police also said an employee at the store had a gun and fired several shots. The U-Haul was struck once, but it is not known if the robber who fled was hit.

No one else was shot. No names have been released and investigators have not released a description of the second robber.

Records show there have been four crimes like larceny, burglary, and robbery in the area.

Neighbors applauded employees for fighting back.

"They're fed up with it," a neighbor said. "Sometimes, that's the only way, to fight back."

North Carolina state law said people have the right to defend themselves with deadly force in their homes and workplace without the duty to retreat.

Officials said as of Friday, none of the employees have been charged.

A legal expert told Channel 9's Tina Terry the right to defend only applies if there is an "imminent threat." The expert said behind the scenes, officers may be considering if that type of threat existed in this case.

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