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Police: Gas station worker charged with shooting customers

A Columbus gas station employee is facing felony charges after he allegedly opened fire on two customers he asked to leave his store, a shooting police described as "a huge overreaction."

Darschan R. Bhalodi, 25, was charged with two counts of aggravated assault and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime. Two victims, ages 46 and 48, were wounded in the shooting but have since been treated and released, police said.

The shooting happened about 7 p.m. Friday at the BP gas station at 2206 Second Avenue. Two men had been loitering in and around the store when they "got into a dispute with store personnel," said Lt. John McMichael of the Columbus Police Department.

"They got into some kind of argument about them leaving," McMichael said. "They made some minor purchase and then came back into the store and apparently had no intent of making any other purchase, asking for credit and that kind of thing."

The men eventually left the store, McMichael said, but Bhalodi spotted them outside and "got into a further dispute with them." According to police, Bhalodi said he felt threatened. He allegedly fired several rounds with a 9 mm handgun, striking one of the men in the buttocks and the other in the arm.

"He alleges that one of them had a beer bottle in his hand and he felt threatened by the beer bottle," McMichael said. "It just seemed like a huge overreaction to what he had going on there."

Bhalodi was released on bond Saturday from the Muscogee County Jail.

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