An elderly convenience store owner in California is being hailed a hero after shooting a would-be thief who ran out of the store screaming that his arm had been ‘shot’.
Shocking surveillance footage of Norco Market & Liquor in the 2800 block of Clark Avenue in Norco showed a masked assailant entering the business around 2.47am on Sunday with an AR-15 style rifle pointed at the elderly store owner. 80 years old.
The suspect yelled, “Freeze, hands up,” but within seconds quick-witted store owner Craig Cope pulled a shotgun from under the counter and immediately fired once. the thief, hitting him on the arm.
Cope’s 79-year-old wife, Nancy, told the Post that her husband had a heart attack after the shooting, but is expected to make a full recovery.
“He’s sleeping right now,” she said in a brief phone interview early Tuesday, adding that he was discharged from hospital Monday night.
“He’ll be fine,” Nancy Cope said. “He just needs to rest for a while.”
Video footage from the store showed another man getting out of a black BMW SUV, but he pulled over and got back into the vehicle once he saw the first suspect exit the store shouting repeatedly: ” He pulled my arm!”
Authorities located the four suspects at a Southern California hospital, where one had a gunshot wound consistent with a shotgun blast, according to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.
Investigators also found firearms stolen from the BMW SUV, which had previously been reported stolen, authorities said.
Three suspects held on $500,000 bail have been identified as Justin Johnson, 22, of Inglewood, Calif., Jamar Williams, 27, of Los Angeles and Davon Broadus, 24, of Las Vegas.
The main suspect, a 23-year-old man, remained in a critical but stable condition in hospital. His identity is being withheld pending his release and transfer to jail, sheriff officials said.
“In this case, a legally armed member of our community prevented a violent crime and provided for their own safety, while being confronted by multiple armed suspects,” the Riverside County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release. “This investigation is active and ongoing and no additional information will be released at this time.”
Norco Market & Liquor employees said the owner watched store cameras as the SUV pulled into the parking lot. Once he saw the first assailant get out of the SUV and put a mask on his face, the owner immediately went to get his gun.
“He just got ready…and he just stood there, took aim and fired,” store manager Marnia Tapia told Fox11.
Employees said Cope was not at the store on Monday, Fox11 reported.