Craig Cope Biography Craig Cope Wiki
An elderly California liquor store owner who filmed the script about gunmen during a robbery attempt said Tuesday he had no choice but to open fire on an assailant, insisting it was “either him or me.” has been.
Craig Cope, 80, said he feared for his life when four would-be thieves went to Norco Market & Liquor in Norco early Sunday, where he was standing behind the counter when one of the attackers entered with a gun and he yelled, he should freeze to death.
“I have a long gun pointed straight at me,” Cope told the Post. “It was him or me and I was a little faster.”
Cope said he knew something was wrong when he saw a dark-colored BMW SUV pull up next to the store, rather than several open parking spaces nearby. They also “backed away” when they approached, which was another “red flag” for the witty owner.
“And then I saw them come out of the car with masks and guns,” Cope continued. “So I thought about what would happen. All I knew was that they were armed, masked and on the move, so I was prepared for them.
At one point, three of the suspects jumped out of the SUV while a fourth man stayed behind to act as the runaway driver, Cope said.
Surveillance footage from the store shows Cope firing the rifle seconds after the shooter announced the robbery, injuring the would-be thief in the arm.
“He was screaming that I shot him,” Cope recalled. “That’s what he said.”
Cope, who suffered a heart attack and was hospitalized after the shooting, is recovering at his Riverside home.
He said he intends to continue working in the shop but may soon reduce his hours. It has nothing to do with the burglary attempt on Sunday, which he described as a “terrible isolated case”.
“I will be present in one way or another,” he said.
Cope bought the store in 1976 and ran it for 19 years before selling it. Then he bought it back about seven years ago. He declined to say whether Monday’s incident was the first time the store had been attacked by criminals.
“I’m not declassifying it,” Cope said, adding that the store wasn’t robbed during his last tenure as owner.
Norco, Riverside County is not known as a “high crime area,” Cope said. Many citizens own horses and the community is largely conservative.
“This is not a good place for thieves,” Cope said flatly. “Many owners are conservative and probably armed. These kids didn’t do their homework.
According to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, authorities located the four suspects at a Southern California hospital, where one had a gunshot wound consistent with a gun blast.
Three suspects, who were being held on $500,000 bail, have been identified as Justin Johnson, 22, of Inglewood, California, Jamar Williams, 27, of Los Angeles, andDaphne Broadus, 24, of Las Vegas.
Sheriff officials praised Cope for preventing a “violent crime” while ensuring his safety while confronted by several armed suspects.
Cope, who grew up in Illinois where he hunted for food as a child, said he has no regrets about his actions.
“It won’t bother me or stop me from doing anything,” he told the Post. “It won’t change the way I work. I am already awake and always pay attention to what surrounds me.