NORTH AUGUSTA — One man is dead and two are recovering after being shot by a gun store owner during a burglary of his business Thursday morning.
Stephen Bayazes Jr., 57, told officers that he and his wife were asleep in an apartment at the back of the business, Guns & Ammo Gunsmith, 522 Edgefield Road, shortly before 4 a.m. when he awoke after hearing a loud crash and the activation of a silent alarm.
Bayazes grabbed an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle and found three men loading guns into a van that had crashed through the side wall of the store.
After hearing the men yell to kill him, Bayazes shot one 30-round magazine of .223-caliber bullets before retreating to his bedroom to reload, he later told officers.
As he left the room, Bayazes saw two men drive away in the van.
K’Raven Aude Goodwin, 20, of Eastover, S.C., was wounded and left behind at the gun
Aiken County Coroner Tim Carlton said Goodwin died of gunshot wounds shortly after arriving at Medical College of Georgia Hospital.
The two other suspects were found at Waffle House on Martintown Road, about three miles away. Investigators said the men, who had both been shot, stopped at the restaurant to seek help.
Eddie Stewart, 30, of Columbia, and Franklin Robinson, 27, of Gadsden, S.C., were taken to a hospital. Details on their injuries have not been released.
Aiken County sheriff’s Sgt. Jason Feemster said it appeared that all of the stolen merchandise was in the van.
Hours after the incident, a construction crew worked to repair the damaged wall. Parts of the ceiling and glass from display cases still littered the floor.
The store owner said it was not the first time the store has been a target.
In 2009, the store was burglarized.
Shortly afterward, Bayazes and his wife moved into an apartment in the back.
Bayazes was not injured.
Feemster said Bayazes was within his rights to use lethal force.
“If someone is breaking in your home or business, you have the right to defend yourself and not retreat,” the sergeant said.