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Shopper wounded in robbery outside store

Chau Van Tran stopped at a mini-market not far from the factory where he works to buy a few things. Walking back to his truck late Wednesday, he was shot in the head during a robbery.

Police say two men walked up and demanded money from the 47-year-old Tran and then placed a handgun to his head outside Mid Town Foods at 642 28th St. S. Tran, of St. Petersburg, managed to drive a few blocks on Terminal Drive S before stopping to have somebody phone paramedics.

Tran was taken to Bayfront Medical Center, where he was listed in fair condition Thursday. His injuries did not appear life-threatening, police said.

Mid Town employees said Tran was not a regular customer, but he apparently had stopped by the store because he works down the street at a factory. The store's staff did not know anyone had been shot late Wednesday until police came in to question them.

"We've been robbed three times in two years, but this is the first time anything like this happened, that anybody got shot," said Connel Witherspoon, whose family owns the small store. He said some people in the neighborhood have complained about a string of recent robberies. The store now has more employees working at night, he said.

Police are continuing the investigation.

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