Caught on camera: 80-year-old store owner shoots would-be robbery suspect

Published: Aug. 2, 2022 at 1:44 AM MDT
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RIVERSIDE COUNTY, Calif. (KCAL/KCBS) - An 80-year-old store owner in California turned the tables on an attempted robbery suspect armed with what looked like an assault rifle.

Convenience store owner Craig Cope, 80, was ready at 2:45 a.m. Sunday when four would-be robbers entered the store he’s owned since 1967 near San Bernardino.

“It’s not his first rodeo,” said Cope’s employee, Marnie Tapia. “On the surveillance, he saw them coming out of the vehicle with weapons.”

Craig Cope, the 80-year-old convenience store owner, suffered a heart attack as the result of...
Craig Cope, the 80-year-old convenience store owner, suffered a heart attack as the result of the traumatic series of events, but he is expected to make a full recovery, his employee says. He has already been saying he’d like to return to work.(Source: Facebook/Marnie Tapia, KCAL/KCBS via CNN)

Strategically tucked behind the counter, Cope whipped out his hidden shotgun and shot one suspect in the arm, as seen in surveillance video.

After nearly leaving one of their own behind, the suspects sped off in a black BMW X3. Cope kept an eye on his cameras to make sure they left.

“I’m proud to call him my boss. He makes us feel better about being here,” Tapia said.

Cope suffered a heart attack as the result of the traumatic series of events, Tapia says, but he is expected to make a full recovery. He has already been saying he’d like to return to work.

Tapia credits the store’s newly installed, high definition security cameras with saving Cope’s life. The 80-year-old put the security system in place because of a recent uptick in convenience store robberies.

“The sheriff came in and warned me about eight months ago or so that this was going on and to keep an eye out and pay attention, be on your toes,” she said.

The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department says the suspects all showed up at a hospital. Three of them were arrested, while the man who was shot is still recovering.

Authorities say the suspects’ vehicle was stolen, and they recovered numerous stolen firearms. The suspects are charged with robbery and conspiracy. They’re being held on $500,000 bail.

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