Newark 99 Zone
Photo by © <a href="">Dan Ivers</a>/NJ Advance Media

One of the owners of 99¢ Zone in Newark, New Jersey said that the police officer who was shot during a recent attempted robbery “saved his life.”

Lloyd Darby, who owns 99¢ Zone along with James Harris and Fabian Daniels, said that the first officer to arrive at the scene was able to prevent the attempted robbery from escalating much further.

Darby said to NJ Advance Media for, “I really want to get on my knees and pray when I see him. There’s no words to say. He saved my life.”

According to police, Donald Easterling was carrying a handgun when he arrived at the store, which Harris was managing at the time. Harris said Easterling reached into a bag for the handgun before ordering another employee and two customers to the floor.

Harris was luckily able to slip outside and flag down a nearby police officer. The officer confronted Easterling as he walked outside, just as backup officers were arriving on scene. According to Harris, Easterling failed to to drop his gun when ordered by police.

When the officers converged on Easterling the gun reportedly went off and the officers returned fire, Harris said. One of the bullets hit Easterling and another hit the first officer who had arrived on the scene.

Easterling, who was still holding the gun at the time, was subdued by the officers with the help of three people who were inside the store.

Easterling was taken to University Hospital in Newark, and was later charged with robbery, aggravated assault and weapons offenses.

The injured officer, who has not been identified, was also treated and released later that day.

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