HICKSVILLE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A Hicksville store clerk was attacked in a brazen slashing and robbery at a mini-mart across from a Long Island Rail Road station, but what happened next had people calling the victim a hero.

But as CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan reported, what happened next had some people calling the victim a hero.

Following the attack shortly after 8:30 a.m. Friday, victim Nar Ayan’s keys with a photo of his daughter dangled from the lock of the American Mini-Mart. The clerk had been slashed by a violent robber with a knife and suffered a huge gash to his side and back.

But police said Ayan, 49, was able to save his own life and protect his customers just moments after the shocking slashing.

“The suspect tried to get away,” said Ayan’s boss, Siraj Ghani. “My guy – he locked him inside and he went outside. He’s smart.”

Ayan was bleeding profusely as he staggered out the door. But he managed to lock the suspect inside before collapsing on the sidewalk, and the victim turned to passersby to call 911.

Ayan was hospitalized and lost a kidney in the attack.

Meanwhile, Nassau County police arrived within moments – it was rush hour at the Hicksville train station at the time.

And before the accused robber could break down the door and escape by train or bus, police had him in custody.

“Five cops pull him down, he was resisting arrest, and I got nervous,” a witness said.

LIRR passengers hovered on the platform above, while other frightened commuters scrambled onto buses, as police cleared the area to keep everyone safe.

One man questioned why the suspect had to attack the clerk.

“Give him the money and he should just leave,” he said. “You know, what do you have to hurt the guy for?”

Police said the suspect trashed the mini-mart, leaving glass everywhere. Bags of confiscated cash from lottery machines were found with the suspect.

Customers on Friday afternoon were praying Ayan – a fixture at the store for years.

“His good sense of humor – like, if you didn’t have the money to purchase something, he would be like, ‘Oh, it’s on me!’” a man said.

“A calm, gentle man – I mean, nothing — no bad bone in him,” another said.

The victim’s family was at his hospital bedside Friday night, after surgery to remove his kidney. He was reported in serious condition when he was transported.

Suspect in the case – Syaleek Anderson, 19 – was charged Friday with robbery, criminal possession of a weapon, and resisting arrest.

Nassau County police said he flailed and kicked his feet while being arrested.

Police said appeared Anderson acted alone, and was targeting cash collected from lottery ticket sales.

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