Bait Shop Proprietor Shot, Robbed in Early Morning Shooting

It all happened before sunrise. Cary's Bait and Tackle was open for business, and by 6:40 a.m. the proprietor was on the phone calling for help.

SGT Chris Chase, LCSO spokesman, says, "We received a 9-1-1 call from the clerk who stated he had been shot during a robbery at his store, Cary's Bait and Tackle on Blountstown Highway."

Cary Whitfield was shot in the chest and rushed to the hospital, the cash register and the phone on the floor as deputies searched for clues.

Complicating matters, there are no known witnesses. The victim offered the only description of the shooter and it wasn't much, a black man with a gun.

"I was raised with him. I been knowin' him since he was about seven years old."

Vernon Geddie has known Whitfield since grade school. He used to run this store and still owns it.

Vernon says, "He had a good business. Apparently everybody liked him but one."

Neighbors say they didn't hear a thing. Holli Holland and her son live next door. He usually stops by the shop for a snack before catching his school bus across the street. She says luckily this time he didn't.

Holli says, "He woke up sick and I said that's fine. I know the Lord provided a way for him not to enter that situation."