Two employees of a Scan furniture outlet in a Columbia industrial park were shot during a robbery attempt just after they closed the store yesterday, Howard County police said.
Police said the incident was the second shooting reported this year in Howard County.
The employees had set the burglar alarm and locked the building in the Guilford Industrial Center in the 9400 block of Gerwig Lane when two masked men approached and forced them back inside at gunpoint about 5:20 p.m., police said.
The bandits demanded to know where the cash register was, police said. Finding it empty, the robbers ordered the employees to lie on the floor and asked where to find the safe, police said.
As one of the employees answered, the burglar alarm sounded and one of the bandits opened fire with a handgun, wounding one worker in the chest and the other in the back. Both assailants fled before getting to the safe, police said.
One of the workers called 911, and both were flown by state police MedEvac helicopter to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore. Police said the injuries did not appear life-threatening.
The names of the wounded employees, ages 37 and 24, were withheld until relatives could be notified.
The county's only other shooting this year occurred in March, when a 17-year-old Columbia boy was shot in Hickory Ridge village in a dispute over a 15-year-old girl, police said. An 18-year-old was charged with attempted first-degree murder and assault with intent to murder.