VIDEO: 80-year-old man fires shotgun to stop armed robbers; one exclaims ‘he shot my arm off’

Craig Cope suffered heart attack during robbery, returned to work

RIVERSIDE COUNTY, Cali. – An 80-year-old liquor store owner in Riverside County, California shot an armed robber early Sunday and suffered a heart attack. Three days later -- he’s already heading back to work.

Newly installed security cameras at Norco Convenience store caught the entire incident on camera.

Marnie, an employee of the store, said owner Craig Cope saw the suspects coming out of a vehicle with weapons on the surveillance video.

When the robbery suspects entered the store, one of them raised a gun at Cope, who fired a shotgun and hit the suspect holding the gun in the arm.

The suspects are seen fleeing and one yells, “he shot my arm off” multiple times.

“I knew he’s pointing a gun directly at me. It was half second, three fourths of a second, I’m just, ‘I’m not going to wait,’” Cope said in an interview with CBS Los Angeles.

“I just did what I had to do. I would always protect my employees, my customers, myself. This instance, fortunately, I was here by myself so I didn’t have to worry about that. I took care of it, and that was it,” Cope said.

He suffered a heart attack during the robbery attempt and was hospitalized for 24 hours while doctors inserted three stents to open his arteries. Cope was back at work by Wednesday.

“Everybody works hard, they’ve got bills to pay. These guys gonna come, take it away from ya? Not here,” Cope said.

Riverside County Sheriff’s Department told KKTV that all the suspects showed up at a local hospital. Three of them were arrested, but the man who was shot is still recovering.

Sheriff’s deputies said the 23-year-old suspect that Cope hit remains in critical condition, according to CBS News.

When a local reporter asked Cope if he planned to still have his shotgun ready at the store, he said, “yeah, it doesn’t work good from home.”

About the Author:

Mary Claire Patton has been a journalist with KSAT 12 since 2015. She has reported on several high-profile stories during her career at KSAT and specializes in trending news and things to do around Texas and San Antonio.