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Papa John’s employee stops robbery, shoots would-be bandit, second suspect on the run

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Kristen Spicker

Journal-News, Hamilton, Ohio

An employee at a New Carlisle Papa John’s where one person died during an attempted robbery Sunday night described the shooting as self defense to a 911 dispatcher.

“Someone just broke in and they were shot in self defense,” the man told Clark County Sheriff’s Office 911 dispatchers, according to records obtained by this newspaper. “They came right in with weapons and tried to rob us. They’re still in here. There’s one shot and wounded on the floor. One of them ran out.”

Gage Melton, 21, died following the shooting, according to the Clark County Coroner’s Office. No additional information on him is available.

The second suspect reported by the 911 caller has not been identified. As of early Monday morning, Clark County Sheriff’s Major Chris Clark said no one was in custody in connection to the incident.

Deputies responded to the pizza chain at 410 Main Street on Sunday night after workers reported an attempted robbery where one of the subjects was shot.

Both attempted robbers were armed, a worker said.

“The one’s got a big crowbar and had what looked like a knife and they were sprinting toward us,” he said. “It looked like a knife or hedge clippers or something.”

A second worker who identified himself as the shooter told dispatchers said he’s a lawful concealed carry holder.

Initially, the first employee said the person shot, later identified as Melton, was breathing and facedown.

“He’s bleeding really bad,” he told the dispatcher. “We need an ambulance ASAP please.”

However, later during the call, he said he didn’t think Melton was breathing still.

“He hasn’t moved in a long time,” he said. “I can’t tell if he’s breathing anymore.”

CareFlight was called to respond, but it was canceled, and investigators from the Clark County Coroner’s Office were dispatched to the store.

A third employee was also inside the Papa John’s during the attempted robbery.

Clark said early Monday all the workers were safe.

“I’m just so glad my driver has a concealed carry,” the 911 caller said. “Because I wouldn’t know what to do with them running in like that.”

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