It happened at the Exxon Stop at the intersection of U.S. 1 and Camp Easter Road in the Lakeview Community - just south of Vass, N.C - a little before 10:30 Monday night.
Deputies say clerk Grace Kelly - who is in her 70s - was closing the store for the night when several men walked in and tried to rob it. Kelly's husband - 78-year-old Angus Kelly - was in the parking lot waiting for his wife and came to her aid with a shotgun.
Moore County Sheriff Lane Carter told ABC11 Angus Kelly fired on the robbers hitting one in the face. In the resulting gunfight, both Kelly and his wife were wounded.
"Saw 'em go into the store with firearms and attempt to rob the store. That's when he challenged them, and the shootout happened," said Carter.
Grace Kelly was the first to call 911.
"I've got three gunmen," she pleaded with the dispatcher. "Hurry!"
Angus Kelly was listed in stable condition at UNC Hospitals. Grace Kelly was treated and released from Moore Regional Hospital for a gunshot wound to the arm. Despite the wound, she was able to drive to Chapel Hill to be with her husband who underwent surgery Tuesday morning.
Sheriff Carter said his deputies used surveillance video from the store to help identify suspects in the attempted robbery.
After a two hour search of the area, 17-year-old Randy Joel Williams of 350 Shaw Ave., Southern Pines N.C. was found in a wooded area about a half mile from the shooting. He had a gunshot wound to the face. He was taken to Moore Regional Hospital where was listed in critical condition after surgery.
Demarcus Dennison, 18, of Polkton in Anson County and 20-year-old Leroy Medley of Southern Pines were also arrested. They're each charged with two counts of robbery with a dangerous weapon, two counts of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury, and first degree kidnapping.
Both were in the Moore County Detention Center under a $250,000 bond.
Deputies were searching for one more suspect who wasn't named and said more arrests were expected.
Carter said the men were part of a crime spree that spanned the state. They allegedly committed at least one robbery in Charlotte and another in Moore County.
"They have been violent in the other ones. We're not sure about one of them, but they did assault the patrons of a business," said Carter.
Regular store customers were stunned by the news that the Kellys were hurt in an attempted robbery.
"I can't imagine having to be in that situation, ever having to defend my wife knowing that someone could die. It's really, it makes you think twice, you know?" offered Randy Federmack.
"Everybody knows Grace, you know? You can't come here without seeing her, can't talk about it without someone knowing Grace. A shame!" he continued.
Chris Neal, owner of the Short Stop said Kelly has worked for the store for more than 12 years.
"Grace has an extreme dedication and loyalty to her employer. She wanted to make sure the store could reopen. I wish I had more employees just like her, he said.