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The 80-year-old California liquor store owner, filmed opening fire on a would-be thief with a shotgun, is now speaking out, saying: ‘I hunted a lot when I was small”.
Sunday morning’s incident at the Norco Market & Liquor in Norco, just east of Los Angeles, prompted the armed suspect to flee his business, shouting “he pulled my arm!”
“I would always protect my employees, my customers, myself. This time, luckily, I was here on my own, so I only had to worry about that. I took care of it and that’s it. everything,” the store owner, identified by CBS LA as Craig Cope, told the station.
“I hunted a lot when I was little,” he added. “I would put food on the table. So I still remember things from a long time ago.”
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Cope also told CBS LA that he thinks “more people should vote and vote the right way, and I think politicians…it’s not going to get me on the good side of a lot of people, but there’s a lot of people there, they have no idea what it’s like to try to run a small business.
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“And when they let people out…and we have bad people, let’s face it. There are bad people, bad people that we don’t need. We have to lock them up because it’s a situation scary when that happens,” he also said. “Everyone works hard. They have bills to pay. These guys are coming to take them away from you. Not here.”
Cope told Fox11 LA that “there wasn’t much time to think” about the incident as it unfolded.
“When you point a gun directly at me and you’re so close to me and I see what you’re carrying, I don’t wait,” he said.
The store owner also said the first indication he received that something was about to happen was when he saw the suspects “through the front door entering this parking lot, but they didn’t are not parked where a normal person would park, so that was a red flag.”
“When I looked at them and saw them get out of the vehicle, they got gloves, masks, a gun, it just solidified the deal for me, I knew what was coming,” he said. he adds.
The 23-year-old shooter seen in surveillance footage wielding a rifle – who has not been publicly identified – was later found at a local hospital “suffering from a gunshot wound consistent with a shotgun blast “, according to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Office. .
He remains in a critical but stable condition and will be imprisoned upon his release.
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Police say three other men who were inside a getaway vehicle at the time of the attempted robbery are in custody and face charges of theft and conspiracy.
Cope, meanwhile, returned to work on Tuesday after suffering a heart attack following the shooting, according to media reports.