Updated: Thursday, 18 Oct 2012, 10:32 PM EDT
Published : Thursday, 18 Oct 2012, 10:32 PM EDT
NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) -- Rakesh-Kumar Patel, known as Rocky, was hit by a bullet in the chest and was rushed to the hospital in critical condition, has had multiple surgeries, and still needs more.
"I gotta go back to take the bullets out," Patel said.
News 8 asked, "The bullet's still in there?"
"Yeah. I'm still doing good," Patel said.
He is amazingly upbeat for someone who nearly died and he's also pretty tough. Just a few weeks after being released from intensive care, he's back at the store.
Joking with his customers at Walt's Package Store on Columbus Avenue in New Haven, Rocky says, this is the first time anything like this has happened.
He was standing behind the counter when two men came in. One had a mask and demanded money. Rocky put the cash on the counter, but the man without a mask shot him, without so much as a word to him.
"And he shoot me for nothing," Patel said.
News 8 asked if he had already given him the money, and Patel said, "They don't even ask me anything."
Tomorrow they're installing bullet-proof glass over the counter and a new surveillance system has already gone in.
"You gotta make a living, that's what I gotta work for and I work hard for my kids," Patel said.
Today he has one more reason to feel a bit more secure.
Police have arrested two suspects, 24-year-olds Thomas Norfleet and Brandon Mills.
The duo allegedly robbed 8 places in just two months, including Sam's Mart on Kimberly Avenue four separate times, but it was when they walked into Eddie's Market on Sylvan Avenue that their crime spree was stopped.
That's all due to this man, Edilberto Fontanez. Mills allegedly pulled a gun on Fontanez, but the 70-year-old store owner pulled out his own gun and shot at Mills twice. He missed, hitting a can and some women's stockings and Mills took off, but police were able to track him down and finally arrest him.
Many here are now breathing a little easier, none more so than Rocky.
"I'm happy because I'm saved, my family's happy," Patel said.
A press conference is being held Friday at 8:30 a.m. for the two men that were charged.