by Joshua Ford | 24News
An elderly convenience store owner in California is being hailed as a hero after he shot at a would-be robber who ran out of the store screaming that his arm was “shot off.”
Shocking surveillance footage from Norco Market & Liquor in the 2800 block of Clark Avenue in Norco, Calif., showed a masked assailant entering the business at about 2:47 a.m. with an AR-15-style rifle pointed at the 80-year-old store owner.
The suspect yelled, “Freeze, hands in the air,” but within seconds, the quick-thinking store owner pulled out a shotgun from under the counter and immediately shot once at the robber, hitting him in the arm.
Video footage further showed another man getting out of a black BMW SUV, but he stopped and got back into the vehicle once he saw the first suspect run out of the store repeatedly screaming, “He shot my arm off!”
Riverside County sheriff’s officials arrested three suspects — Justin Johnson, 22, of Inglewood, Calif., Jamar Williams, 27, of Los Angeles, and Davon Broadus, of Las Vegas, Nev. — at a local hospital.
The primary suspect, a 23-year-old man, remained in critical but stable condition at the hospital, officials said. His identity is being withheld pending his release from the hospital.
“In this case, a lawfully armed member of our community prevented a violent crime and ensured their own safety, while being confronted with multiple armed suspects,” the Riverside County Sheriff’s Office said in a press release. “This investigation is active and ongoing and no additional information will currently be released.”
Employees at Norco Market & Liquor said the owner was watching the store cameras as the SUV pulled into the parking lot. Once he saw the first assailant get out of the SUV and pull a mask over his face, the owner immediately went for his rifle.
“He just prepared himself … and he stood right here, aimed and shot,” store manager Marnia Tapia told Fox11.
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“He saw on the surveillance — he saw them coming out of the vehicle with weapons,” said Marnie Tapia, one of Cope’s employees.
“I’m proud to call him my boss,” Tapia said. “He makes us feel better about being here, you know.”
“It saved his life,” Tapia said of her boss’ quick action. “I think it did.”
Tapia said Cope sustained a heart attack over the traumatic experience, adding that the store owner would recover fully.
The business recently had cameras installed over the surge in crime in the area. California has notably been plagued with rising crime and homelessness.
“The sheriff came in and warned me about eight months ago or so that this was going on and to keep an eye out and pay attention, be on your toes,” Tapia recalled.