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DURHAM, N.H., Aug. 3 - Maybe the gunman thought the two sweet-mannered, over-60 women who were working behind the Baroody’s Market checkout counter Wednesday night would be easy prey. Big mistake.

He didn’t count on the sudden appearance of 73-year-old Robert Baroody, who had been sitting, unseen, nearby, and in an instant stood alongside the gunman, face to face, gun to gun.

“Don’t point a gun at my family. That’s when you’ve crossed the line,” Baroody said yesterday.

“I told him to hold it right there,” Baroody said, admitting he fully expected the gunman to fire. “When someone points a gun at you he intends to use it, as far as I’m concerned.”

Baroody aimed his .38-caliber pistol and fired. Over the man’s head.

“Something just made me pull the gun up. I didn’t want to shoot him,” he said.

Tape now covers two gunshot holes in the glass front door to Baroody’s Market, 392 Massabesic St. in Manchester.

The gunman ran for his life through that door and disappeared into the night on foot.

Loyal customers were dropping by all day yesterday to tell Baroody, his wife, Jackie, and sister, Virginia Pichette, that they were glad they were all right and to say, “Good for you.”

“I never realized how many friends we have in this neighborhood,” Baroody said.

A bouquet came from neighbors with the message “God Bless All of You.”

Baroody won’t be subject to repercussions for his actions.

“None, whatsoever,” said Deputy Police Chief James Stewart. “It’s still under investigation, but as far as we can see he had every right in the world to defend his family.”

Stewart said Baroody, a soft-spoken, mild-mannered man, is a person who looks out for his neighbors.

“He’s a very concerned citizen who cares very much about his neighborhood and the people who live in it,” he said.

Sgt. Lloyd Doughty said police believe their composite drawing of the suspect is a good likeness.

Doughty is asking anyone who saw the man or might know something about him to contact detectives at 668-8711, or make an anonymous call to the Manchester Crime Line, 624-4040.

The robber wore his hair in corn rows or dreadlocks. He was wearing a white T-shirt and a dark-colored bandanna covered his face.

His height is estimated at about 5-feet-4 to 5-feet-6 inches tall; his build medium to heavy.

Pichette said the gunman was yelling for her to “get the money out. All of it. Hurry.”

Hands shaking, she tried to empty the cash drawer with the gun pointed at her.

Mrs. Baroody said the robbery seemed unreal; she felt like she was in a trance.

“His mask was falling down, and he’s trying to pick it up and hold it.”

She said the gun was large, black and had a square appearance. “I don’t think he’d have hesitated but to use it,” she said.

The defensive firearm is a special-purpose piece of safety rescue equipment, designed to extricate a person . . . from the immediate threat of savagely violent crime. It is like the fire extinguisher. . . . Neither piece of equipment will do you any good if you don't know how to use it or are not psychologically prepared to face danger with that gear in your trained hands in a terror situation.
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