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NEWS 8 EXCLUSIVE

DALLAS It was an ordinary night, August 26, at the Exxon Tiger Mart at South Polk Street and Interstate 20 in Dallas.

C.J. Thomas,the store'sclerk, was behind the counter when a rush of customers came through the door at 10:12 p.m.

There was more coming in than going out, Thomas said. Once they realized how many were in there, one of the students started throwing stuff and screamed out. Everything after that went crazy.

Store surveillance cameras from different angles showbottles being thrown.

Seconds later, Thomas ran to the front door. He tried to close it, but he couldn't hold back the crowd.

Some of them grabbed drinks, chips, and other items and began pushing their way out. Thomas said he tried to stop some people from stealing.

In the process of them walking out, tried to stop a student with a lot of things in his hands and when I tried to do that, he shoved me out into the parking lot and swung at me, Thomas said.

Thomas then says several men then pulled him to the ground and started kicking and punching him.

I was terrified, he said. At first, I thought I would be able to get back into the store, and once they got me on the ground, I thought they were going to kill me.

Thomas suffered cuts on his nose, eyes and lip. He still has a bruised rib and bicep. He told us his injuries would have been worse if two girls hadn't stepped in.

I'm very grateful for that, said Thomas. If it wasn't for them, I could have lost my life.

Thomas and his family met with Dallas police Wednesday afternoon.Officers are now investigating the incident as an aggravated robbery assault. Thomas hopes this video motivates witnesses to come forward.

If you all have any idea who did this, please put their names out there, 'cause if they don't get caught, they are going to do it again, Thomas said.

If you have any information on this case, call the Dallas Police Department.

E-mail mdiaz@wfaa.com

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