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Police respond to a shooting at Miller Auto Sales.

A worker at Miller Auto Sales shot a would-be robber twice in the chest Thursday when the man burst into the store wearing a mask and brandishing a gun.

The shooting happened at 4314 Rossville Blvd. around 1:50 p.m. Two other people were inside the car dealership with the worker when the man came inside, said Chattanooga police Sgt. Scott Bales.

The suspect, who has not been identified, was shot twice in the chest and was taken to a local hospital in critical condition. He underwent emergency surgery and was still alive Thursday afternoon.

The worker who fired the shots has not been identified by police. It's too early to say whether the shooting was justified, Bales said.

Larry Essex, a customer at Miller Auto Sales, said the shop's owner always keeps a gun handy. He said robberies happen often near Rossville Boulevard and that he doesn't blame the worker for shooting the would-be robber.

"I'd have shot him, too," he said.

Essex was not in the dealership at the time of the shooting.

Police also responded to a separate, unrelated shooting that happened about 15 minutes earlier in another part of town Thursday. In that incident, a man, 18-year-old Kendre Allen, was shot once but his injuries were not life-threatening, according to police.

That shooting happened in College Hill Courts at 2500 Sixth Avenue Court around 1:40 p.m. Police have arrested 20-year-old O'Shae Smith in that case.

Contact staff writer Shelly Bradbury at 423-757-6525 or sbradbury@timesfreepress.com with tips or story ideas.

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