Clerks cleared in fatal shootout - | WBTV Charlotte

Clerks who shot and killed would-be robber won't be charged

Robert Christopher Young (Photo courtesy of the Monroe Police Department) Robert Christopher Young (Photo courtesy of the Monroe Police Department)
Monroe, NC -

By Ron Lee - bio l email & Tom Roussey - bio l email

MONROE, NC (WBTV) - There will be no charges filed against the two clerks who shot and killed a gunman during an attempted robbery in Monroe late last Thursday night.

Click here for dramatic video of the botched robbery and shootout

John Snyder, District Attorney for Union County, released a statement on Tuesday in which he hailed the actions of the brothers, who were clerks at the Sunny Food Mart.

"After a thorough investigation by the Monroe Police Department and a complete review of the evidence gathered, I will not press charges against the two men who bravely defended their lives against a cowardly man who wore a mask to rob the Sunny Food Mart.  The honest hard working families that operate small businesses must be free from the fear of being robbed.  Those that choose to rob should be filled with fear that they will suffer the same fate as the deceased.  In Union County we have a no return policy on armed robbery."

"It's a relief," said clerk Sopea Pich, who along with his brother Sophin opened fire on 23 year old Robert Young when he tried to rob them at gunpoint.  "I don't have to go to court and face charges for defending myself."

The shooting happened at the Sunny Food Store located on Walkup Road around 10:15 Thursday night.

According to the Monroe Police Department, the suspect approached the two clerks in the store, displayed a gun and demanded money from the register.  

During the robbery, both of the clerks in the store pulled out their own weapons.  Both sides fired, but only Young was hit.

After being hit, Young stumbled down the street before collapsing in the front yard of a house.

Young, who lived in Monroe, was found in front of 302 McIntyre Street, police said.

Click here to listen to the 911 call from the residents of 302 McIntyre Street

Monroe police officials said the suspect was rushed to Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, but was pronounced dead by medical staff a short time later.

Hours later, police said they were called back out to the store again for a large crowd who had gathered.  According to officers, they were family members of the suspect.  The crowd was dispersed without incident.

The Pich family's life story has involved a lot of hardship.

Sopea Pich tells WBTV the family fled from Cambodia to the United States as refugees in 1984.  They were running from the brutal communist regime of the Khmer Rouge, which is estimated to have murdered around two million people.

"It was either come here or die," Sopea said.  "We came over here in 1984 with nothing.  Just the shirt on our backs."

He said his family has worked hard to make the Happy Food Mart in Monroe a profitable business.  But it wasn't money that Sopea says he was worried about when Young came in and pointed a gun at the brothers.

"It [wasn't] about the money, it [wasn't ] about the business," Sopea said.  "It [was] about life."

"I love my brother. I love my family.  The last thing I want is for one of us to pass away due to somebody coming in here trying to take what we've worked for."

Customers at Sunny Food Mart said they felt the Pich's did the right thing.

"If you break in on somebody you get what you deserve," said customer Sandra Miller.  "That's the truth.  They weren't bothering him."

"He was probably trying to come in there and take their lives, and it was karma, basically," said Daina Rahmings, another Sunny Food Mart customer.

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