Last Updated on August 4, 2022
Craig Cope, 80, was forced to use his firearm in self-defense when an armed man entered his liquor store with a rifle. The 80-year-old suffered a heart attack during the incident, but he has since returned to work and is in otherwise good health.
Surveillance video captured the shocking incident, which took place around 2:45 a.m. on Sunday morning. The California store owner fired one shot with a shotgun after a man entered the store with a rifle, which he pointed at the counter.
The would-be robber immediately fled the store after being shot. He could be heard yelling “he shot my arm off!” before entering a vehicle and fleeing with four other suspects.
The 23-year-old suspect sought medical care after the botched robbery and is reportedly in critical condition, according to law enforcement officials.
The 80-year-old Cope suffered a heart attack during the run-in with the robbers. He needed three stents, but he has since been released from the hospital and is recovering.
When asked by CBS LA for his thoughts on the matter, Cope stated that he did what was necessary. “I would always protect my employees, my customers, myself. This instance, fortunately, I was here by myself, so I only had to worry about that. I took care of it and that was that,” he said.
The outlet also asked if he had a message for area small business owners. He had this to say:
“Well, I think more people should vote and vote the right way, and I think the politicians…this isn’t going to get me on the right side of a lot of people. But there’s a whole lotta people out there, they got no clue what it’s like to try to run a small business. And when they’re letting people out…and we’ve got bad people, let’s face it. There’s bad people, bad people we don’t need. We need to get them locked up because this is a scary situation when that happens. Everybody works hard. They got bills to pay. These guys are going to come in and take it away from you. Not here.”
#BREAKING: "More people need to vote and vote the right way," says the 80 year old #Norco store owner that blasted a would-be robber with a shotgun. Owner Craig Cope is back to work today, and has this message for politicians… pic.twitter.com/F72iaUsogm
— Jeff Vaughn (@JeffVaughn) August 2, 2022
Three of the four suspects have been charged with robbery and conspiracy. Similar charges are expected to be filed against the recovering suspect.