It was, he said, a moment of terror.
“I was filling up the cooler and these two guys came towards me,” the part-owner of a Hyde Park convenience store said Monday as he described being robbed around 10 p.m. Sunday night. “As soon as one got close, he punched me in my neck.”
The two robbers - who later stabbed a customer as they were fleeing - knocked down the part-owner to the floor of the small store. The man asked that his name not be published out of concern for his personal safety.
“They kept kicking me, kicking me, everywhere,” he said as he kept a wary eye on anyone walking into the River Street Mini-Market on Monday.
He said the men dragged him behind the counter and forced him to open the store’s cash register. They told him they had a gun, swore at him, and one brandished a knife. The man said he had never been through anything like this before - and he thought he was going to die.
“One said, ‘where is your safe,” the man said. “I told him, ‘I don’t have no safe. I don’t have no safe. Take what you want to take but don’t hurt me.’”
The thieves made off with an estimated $5,000 in cash and more than a dozen cartons of cigarettes, the part owner said. As the bandits rushed out of the market, one of them stabbed a customer who had stopped in to buy a pack of cigarettes, according to Boston police.
The victim ran to his nearby home and called police from there. He suffered non-life threatening injuries, police said.
The part-owner said he did not see his customer being stabbed - because he made sure not to watch as the thieves ran from the store.
Boston police said one of the robbers was wearing a mask, and the other wore a pair of glasses.
A customer who walked into the store Monday to buy laundry detergent told the man that he did the right thing. The customer called him a soldier. He told him he was really sorry that this happened to him.
“If they take all the store, you let them,” the customer told the victim. “You want to get back home to your wife and kids.”
The part-owner said his wife sometimes helped out in the past when the workload was too heavy for one person.
But not any more. Now she’s too scared.
“It’s a battle ground like Iraq... This doesn’t look like America,” the man said. “Those things happen in a third world country. Not here.”
Police said the investigation is ongoing.John R. Ellement can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @JREbosglobe.Cristela Guerra can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @CristelaGuerra.