Charles Petit gasped for air as he told a 911 dispatcher that he had shot a man Sunday outside his Lincolnville home.
Petit had rushed back inside his house at 206 Dunmeyer Hill Road after he said someone attacked him as he tried to get into his sport-utility vehicle.
His ensuing call to authorities, a copy of which was obtained Tuesday through an S.C. Freedom of Information Act request, portrays the 76-year-old man's will to survive the ordeal. It also indicates why the self-employed jewelry dealer might have been carrying a gun.
"I shot about three times before I hit him because he had me on the ground trying to Tase me," Petit told the dispatcher. "I finally got one in him.
"This might be the man who robbed me before."
Deputies from the Charleston County Sheriff's Office arrived about six minutes later as 25-year-old Robert Deziel of Summerville, the man suspected of trying to rob Petit, took his final breaths.
No arrests have been made in the shooting. Deputies found a stun gun at the scene, the kind of weapon Petit said his assailant had used.
Petit had been the victim of past thefts that drained the inventory of jewelry he sells.
In late April he lost about $4,500 in cash and $60,000 worth of watches, gold pendants and diamond rings when someone broke into his home. Petit had left the house as his wife, 72-year-old Betty, slept inside.
Earlier that year, Petit also reported that someone stole a tote holding $30,000 worth of jewelry he was selling at the Coastal Carolina Flea Market. Because his personal information also had been in the tote, he suspected that the thief later came to his house looking for more.
Some of the stolen jewelry later showed up at a pawn shop. That led to the arrest in October of Michael Wright, 42, of Summerville, who faces charges of receiving stolen goods and obtaining property by false pretenses.
Petit's frustrations with thieves dated to at least July 2006, when he reported $550 worth of fishing gear had been stolen from a boat in his yard.
Sheriff's Maj. Eric Watson said nothing indicated to deputies that Deziel was connected to any of those past incidents. Deziel did not have an arrest history in South Carolina.
Petit was frantic as he called for help after the shooting around 6 a.m. Sunday.
He breathed heavily as he struggled to hear the dispatcher and to recall details of what happened.
"I just shot a man," he said. "I just shot somebody trying to rob me."
He said he had heard the robber tumble over something - a trash can or his boat, he suspected - as he retreated into his house. His wife was inside.
Despite a scrape on his hand from hitting the pavement and a bruise from where he was hit in the face, Petit said he was not injured.
He set his .38-caliber revolver on a washing machine, he told the dispatcher.
He didn't know how badly his attacker was hurt.
"He's outside somewhere," Petit said. "I'm not going back outside."
Reach Andrew Knapp at 937-5414 or twitter.com/offlede.
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