80-year-old store owner in California shoots and kills robber

NORCO, California –

An 80-year-old Southern California liquor store owner who shot dead an armed robber with a shotgun, the outlet reported Tuesday.

Craig Cope passed away on Tuesday morning and a memorial service at Norco Market & Liquor will be held at a later date, according to a Facebook post. It did not mention the cause of his death.

Cope was at the counter before 3 a.m. on July 31 at Norco in Riverside County when a man in a ski mask walked through the door, pointed a rifle and demanded, “Hands up! Hands up!” Surveillance video shows Cope firing a shot from the shotgun.

The gunman escaped. Surveillance cameras outside the store caught him shouting “He shot my arm off, he shot my arm off!” when he got in the car and was driven away.

“I don’t have time to be scared,” after the car with four robbers inside entered the parking lot and some stepped out wearing masks, gloves and holding weapons, he told KTTV-TV.

He was alone in the store. A robber came through the door with what Cope said appeared to be a semi-automatic rifle.

“He pointed the gun directly at me. It was him or me,” he told the station.

The four men were later arrested at a hospital where the injured suspect was being treated. Authorities say the getaway vehicle was stolen in Las Vegas and contained the stolen weapon.

Cope was commended by the Sheriff’s Department. The video of the shooting made him a celebrity. KABC-TV reported, people flocked to the store to take pictures, congratulate him and buy items, including a T-shirt with the slogan “Don’t mess with Norco, we’ll shoot off his wings. your hand”.

Cope owned the store since 1976. After the shooting he suffered a heart attack but recovered and returned to work before suffering a stroke in October.

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