Local News

Pharmacist Shoots Robber to Protect Store, Takes Bullet Himself

Posted July 14, 1999

— It is the last place you would expect a robbery attempt, but the man who ran the small town pharmacy was ready.

Police say Joe Edwards, 54, tried to hold up Carter's Pharmacy at 5 p.m. Thursday in the Johnston County town of Four Oaks, but the pharmacist was ready with a gun of his own.

Lee Carter has owned the store since 1963, and he was not going to give in to a robber without a fight.

R.A. Jackson talked to Carter right after he was shot.

"I ran over there and he was at the door and had the gun in his hand," Jackson said. "He was bloody and said, 'He's back there,' and he said, 'He tried to rob me, and I took the gun away from him and shot him.'"

Police say Edwards, who has an extensive history of crime, parked his car down the street from the pharmacy. They say he entered the store wearing a wig and carrying a shopping list of drugs.

"Drugs such as Valium, Demerol, morphine and some other drugs I can't even pronounce," says Danny Toppings, the Four Oaks police chief.

Edwards was armed with a .22-caliber handgun. Carter got his .22 and shot the suspect, they struggled, then Carter got shot.

"They were still struggling, and he got the suspect's gun and shot the suspect again," Toppings said.

Carter shot Edwards a total of six times. Toppings says Carter is a fighter.

"He's 71 years old, but you'd never know it," he said. "He's in fine shape, and you just have to know Mr. Carter to understand."

Carter is a longtime member of the community and is very well-liked.

Carter and Edwards were taken to Duke University Medical Center where they both underwent surgery. Carter is listed in good condition, and Edwards is listed in serious condition.


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