Facing gun, merchant shoots 3 The E. Germantown deli owner, on guard early, detained a 4th suspect until police arrived. By Joel Bewley Inquirer Staff Writer It was clear to John Lee that the four guys who came into his East Germantown deli Saturday night would not be paying customers. "They all had their hoodies pulled tight, and it wasn't a cold night," said Lee, 48, owner of the Chelten Market at Chelten Avenue and Musgrave Street. "I said, 'You need to take off your hoodies,' then one of them came around the counter with his gun drawn, so I shot them." Lee fired five rounds from his .38-caliber revolver, striking three of the bandits and rupturing a water line, police said. The gunman dropped his loaded 9mm pistol as he and his wounded partners fled the store. Lee found a fourth would-be robber - who had not been shot - hiding in the rear of the store. "He had a BB gun on him, so I took it," Lee said. "Then I beat him up and took his boots and called police." All four suspects - three juveniles and a man, 22 - were listed yesterday in stable condition at area hospitals, police said. Their names were not released. The two juveniles were shot in the neck and leg, and the man was hit in the chest, police said. They were charged with armed robbery, as was a fifth person who waited outside as the driver. The suspect detained by Lee was arrested when police arrived. The others were arrested after driving to Temple University Hospital in the same Dodge Intrepid they allegedly planned to use as the getaway car. No charges were filed against Lee, who said he was taken to Temple a couple of hours later to identify two of the suspects. Police took Lee's gun, which he said is legally owned, as well as the recording made by the store's surveillance cameras. The group is suspected of holding up a bar 15 minutes before trying to hit Lee's store, Detective Michael Cannon said. "They are also being investigated for robberies in other parts of the city," he said. State Rep. Dwight Evans, who lives a neighborhood away in West Oak Lane, had no criticism for Lee's actions. Evans is expected to run next year for mayor, with a pillar of his platform being the need to find ways to reduce violence. "He was doing what he had to do to protect himself," Evans said. "This is an issue we will continue to face. Public safety has to become a priority for the city government." It's not the first time Lee has wounded someone trying to hold up his store; he shot a man last year on Labor Day weekend. Tim Rosser, who works at the market as a cook and lives in the area, said Lee is known in the neighborhood as someone residents can come to for help. "He has the respect of the people around here," said Rosser, 42. "The people who cause trouble at the store are strangers." Lee was thankful he was working behind the counter instead of his wife. "I didn't tell her about the robbery yet because I didn't want to upset her," he said yesterday morning. "She's at church right now. Her prayers must be working for us." Olde Skool.