A worker in Pizza Hut used his own gun to kill one of three armed robbers holding up his shop.
Police said three men walked into the restaurant when it was closed around 1.40am on Sunday.
They began stealing from the restaurant when the employee opened fire.
The Pizza Hut worker shot one thief with his own "personal handgun", detectives said.
Police said a handgun carried by the dead robber was recovered at the scene in west Charlotte, North Carolina.
The two other suspects ran away and are still on the loose.
There were no customers inside at the time.