CHILDREN INSIDE HOME WHEN DEADLY SHOTS ARE FIRED

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Armed Robbers Hold Bartender At Gunpoint


UPDATED: Friday December 27, 2013 11:35 PM

A West Columbus bar reopened Friday night after masked and armed suspects ordered customers to the ground and held a gun to the bartender's head the morning before.

The Westland's Pub on Sullivant Avenue says it's moving forward with business in hopes of taking a stand against criminals in their neighborhood.

Two armed robbers busted in through the back door early Friday morning. They fired at least one shot into the ceiling.

"It was intense,"  said bartender Erika Winter. "They were firing. They fired into the hallway."

A bullet pierced the ceiling, but hit nothing else. The two gunmen ordered everyone to the ground.

"They had us on the floor up here, in the back," said Winter.

The robbers stripped the group of anything valuable, then put a gun to Winter's head.

"One of them walked me to the back to access our office," Winter said.

They kicked in the door and pillaged the office. Winter says she wasn't thinking of her own safety at the time. She was thinking about the customers.

"Some of them are my friends that I care about so I was thinking about the safety of the people who were in here," said Winter.

Minutes later, obviously rattled, Winter described it all to a 911 dispatcher.

"I'm so shaken up, I can't even think," said Winter. "He had a gun to my head so I was trying to carefully not make him think I was looking at him."

After they got the goods from the register and the customers, the robbers took off. It was a harrowing experience, but Winter had no plans to call off her next shift. She came on board with the new owners just weeks ago and believes in what they're trying to do.

"This area needs legitimate business owners and that's what we're here to do. We're here to add to our community and be a positive contribution to this area," said Winter.

Security cameras did catch the robbers, but the owner says they were covered head to toe in black gear and stockings over their face. Police have not made any arrests.

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