Young C. Kwon was behind the counter of his family's corner grocery store - Penny's Food Market at the corner of East King and South Pine streets in York - talking to his brother, Young K. Kwon, standing on the other side of the counter, when a man walked through the door with a gun.

It was about 5:30 p.m. Thursday. There were no customers in the small grocery. That's how it happens, Young C. Kwon said, after dark, when the store is empty.

Young C. Kwon had been robbed before - about six times in the 23 years he has owned the store - often enough to know the routine, but still rare enough for it to be a frightening experience. On a couple of those occasions, he'd been robbed at gunpoint. Other times, the robbers employed knives or other instruments.

This time, the man had a gun that looked like a small rifle, like the type of weapon used in the Newtown school shootings, only shorter, more compact.

Young K.


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Kwon told the man, "Stop playing around."

The man said, "I'm not playing around."

The man then tried to hit Young K. Kwon with the butt of the rifle, Young C. Kwon said. Young K. Kwon grabbed the rifle, defending himself, and a struggled ensued.

Then, a shot rang out, the bullet striking the floor between Young K. Kwon's feet.

The man then fled, dragging Young K. Kwon to the door. On the way, Young C. Kwon said, Young K. Kwon landed a few punches - the 49-year-old had been a boxer in high school in Korea - apparently bloodying the robber's nose. There were still droplets of blood visible on the store's stoop Friday.

The man joined an accomplice on the corner and they ran, heading north on Pine Street.

The incident shook up Young C. Kwon. In the other armed robbery attempts at the store, the suspects never discharged their guns.

"It was just lucky that nobody was hurt," he said.

All morning on Friday, customers streamed into the store, buying bread and milk and other sundries.

"I'm really sorry that happened to you," one said. Another asked if Young C. Kwon and his brother were all right and expressed gratitude that they were.

"It's sad," said regular customer Mark Einsig, who lives a block away in a high-rise apartment building. "Violence is out of control and some people just don't care. I'm just glad nobody got hurt."

Another customer asked Young C. Kwon whether he planned to get to a gun. He said he was thinking about, but doubted it.

"I don't like guns," he said.

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