Ex-Fort Mill mayor released from hospital; Was 1 of 2 shot in convenience store robbery

FORT MILL -- Former Fort Mill Mayor Charlie Powers has been released from the hosiptal after he and a female store clerk were shot Tuesday night during a robbery at a downtown convenience store, authorities said.

The robbery happened around 8:30 p.m. at John Boy's Valero at 140 Spratt St.

"The subject walked in the store, robbed the clerk and one other subject," Fort Mill Police Chief Jeff Helms said. "The clerk and one subject, former Mayor Charles Powers, were shot."

Powers was shot once with a handgun, Helms said. He declined to say where Powers was shot, though longtime Town Councilman Grady Ervin said he understood Powers had been shot in the "chin or lower jaw area."

Powers' injuries "appear to be non-life-threatening," Helms said.

A hospital official at Carolinas Medical Center said Powers was released this morning after being listed in fair condition Tuesday night.

Helms did not reveal the clerk's identity nor did he provide any information on the clerk's status. Officials also did not say how many times or where the clerk was shot.

Helms declined to answer questions from the media, and police officials were unavailable for comment Wednesday morning.

At the scene, yellow crime tape lined the store's parking lot. Two forensic trucks and 11 cruisers from the Fort Mill Police Department and the York County Sheriff's Office flanked the store.

Police did not disclose how much money the clerk handed over during the robbery.

"The clerk gave him what she had, and he shot her anyway," said Fort Mill Fire Chief Ken Kerber. "As he was leaving, Charlie walked in, and he shot him, too."

The trigger man fled on foot.

During a basketball game at Fort Mill High School, a school administrator made an announcement just before the game ended asking fans to stay in their seats. The school gym was then locked down and principal Dee Christopher asked fans to leave through the gym's back door as police stood in the parking lot. Everyone was safely evacuated.

Police are looking for a black male, who was dressed all in black including a black toboggan, Helms said.

The shooting came just more than a year after Fort Mill store clerk Mahendrabhai Gordham "Omar" Patel was killed in a robbery at the Sunoco Petro Mart on Jan. 7, 2007, about two miles from John Boy's. No arrest has been made in that shooting, though a person of interest is being held by authorities in North Carolina in connection with a Charlotte robbery.

Powers, who was the town's mayor for 24 years, was defeated in the November election by Danny Funderburk. Powers also served as a town councilman for six years.

"You look at this kind of stuff, and it happens more than in the past. But it's kind of expected with so many more people here now," Ervin said of Tuesday's shooting. "We have a great police department, but they can't be everywhere at once."

Anyone with information about Tuesday's shooting should call the Fort Mill Police Department 547-2022 or York County CrimeStoppers at 1-877-409-4321.