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 showed a masked assailant entering the business at about 2:47 a.m. Sunday 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, quick-thinking store owner Craig Cope pulled out a shotgun from under the counter and immediately shot once at the robber, hitting him in the arm.
Cope’s 79-year-old wife, Nancy, told The Post her husband had a heart attack following the shooting but is expected to fully recover.
“He’s asleep right now,” she said during a brief telephone interview early Tuesday, adding that he was discharged from a hospital late Monday.
“He’s going to be fine,” Nancy Cope said. “He just has to rest for a while.”
Video footage from the store 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!”
Authorities tracked down 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 recovered stolen firearms in the BMW SUV, which had been previously reported stolen, authorities said.
Three suspects being held on $500,000 bond were identified as Justin Johnson, 22, of Inglewood, Calif., Jamar Williams, 27, of Los Angeles, and Davon Broadus, 24, of Las Vegas.
The primary suspect, a 23-year-old man, remained in critical but stable condition at the hospital. His identity is being withheld pending his release and transfer to jail, sheriff officials said.
“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.
Employees said Cope was not at the store on Monday, Fox11 reported.