ROCKY MOUNT, N.C. (WNCN) — The Nash County sheriff said two men were selling drugs in the middle of the day in a mall parking lot in Rocky Mount. — and he would know, he observed it and initiated the bust.

Nash County Sheriff Keith Stone is known for carrying around a scanner and responding to calls. Even as he recovers from hip surgery — and that’s exactly what he did Thursday.

“I’m out here looking, seeing what’s going on,” Stone said.

He takes his job and its responsibilities seriously, so when officers received complaints about drugs being sold in the parking lot of the Golden East Mall, he responded.

“Noticed a vehicle that looked suspicious, and at that time they opened the door up, an individual got in the car stayed a brief moment, drove a short distance across the parking lot,” Stone said.

The incident happened just outside Dunham’s Sports. Stones tells us he knew something was going on and called in his drug unit.

Stone said as one of his deputies approached, he saw one of the suspects was armed.

“Our deputies had to confront him and draw on him and get him to put the gun down. This is in a business district, in the middle of the daytime, in the heart of the economic development in Rocky Mount,” Stone said.

With the help of K-9 Maya, deputies searched the vehicles of both suspects.

“You’ve got two people here, one is 21-years-old, one is 19-years-old, they’ve got weapons that are semi-automatic weapons with 50 round magazines, and another magazine of large capacity,” Stone said.

He explained they also seized drugs and $1,600 in cash. Dominique Macklin-Cooper and Michael Wiggins were arrested, officials said.

“That’s really shocking to me… I never heard it over here, you know not over here where the mall area is,” said Crystal Battle, a neighbor.

“That’s pretty good for the sheriff himself to come out and respond to it, it shows that he is active in the community,” said Amy Duke, a neighbor.

CBS 17 asked why the sheriff chose to respond.

“I’ve been a law enforcement officer for many years… I don’t ask my deputies to do anything that I don’t do,” Stone said.

He said when he stops responding to calls, that’s when he knows he needs to retire.

Both suspects are being held on a $1,000 bond and are due in court later this month.