This morning, not even a day after shooting four would-be robbers—killing two of them— who stormed into his West 125th Street restaurant supply store, Charles (Gus) Augusto was back at work. The Daily News saw the 72-year-old open Blue Flame's doors at 7:45 a.m.; Augusto told the News, "I haven't done anything wrong. I'm sitting here minding my own business and they come in with guns...I don't feel like a hero. I would have felt like a hero if I could have talked that kid into going home."
Augusto said that the men, ages 21 to 29, were armed and demanded money, but he told them they had no cash and told them to leave. But one started to pistol whip an employee, so Augusto took out a 12-gauge, pump-action shotgun that he kept there (a purchase from 20 years ago, when he was robbed). Augusto recalled to the News, "It was sitting there for 20 years - I didn't know if it was gonna work. I got up and pointed it down there and I fired about three rounds. I wasn't aiming at no one directly." And he said to the Post, "I was hoping I could have talked them out of it. I'm sorry they're dead but they didn't give me any other choice."
The two men that died were James Morgan, 29—he died outside the building (and there was a gun near him)—and Raylin Footman, 21—according to the Post, he "collapsed across the street, and later died at St. Luke's Hospital." The NY Times reports at the hospital, "Relatives and friends of the dead and wounded men screamed and wailed in anguish as word of what had happened spread," with one woman wailing, "Oh my God! Why would they want to rob a store? Damn! Why? Why would he go to a family store? He got money!" The two other suspects—Bernard Witherspoon, 21, and Shamel McCloud, 21, —were injured and treated; charges are pending against them.
Witnesses on West 125th Street saw the aftermath of the shooting—apparently the employee who was pistolwhipped went over the Footman's body and cursed him. Then, the News reports, he "went back into the store and dragged Morgan's body onto the sidewalk, yelling at him and kicking him, witnesses said. 'He stood over the body cursing him and shaking him, even though he was dead,' said Matthew Viane, 38, who lives in the neighborhood. 'He was screaming at him and stomping him. He [the employee] said, "You were going to kill me? Now you're dead!"'"
The police are investigating whether Augusto had a permit or registration for the shotgun; it may have expired, but NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said, "There is a lower threshold for owning a shotgun in the city, a permit as opposed to a license." As for Augusto, he's being treated as a witness and an attempted robbery victim; he emphasized to the News, "I would have been happy if they'd all run out the door. I'm sick to my stomach over it. I'm sad I couldn't talk him out of it. I'm sad there's mothers and fathers with no sons today."