Store owner, 80, who shot robber faults ‘clueless’ CA politicians for crime; back to work 1 day after heart attack

After an 80-year-old California store owner was forced to defend himself and his business from armed would-be robbers, his no-nonsense take on the incident singled out the biggest culprits behind escalating crime, and they happen to be the ones elected to do something about it.

(Video: Fox 11)

Craig Cope is the owner of the Norco Market & Liquor shop in Norco, CA where early Sunday morning he made a split-second decision that may very well have saved his life. As he told Fox 11’s Gina Silva during an interview Tuesday, “There wasn’t much time to think about it. It was just, the guy pointed a gun directly at me…it’s him or me.”

As previously reported, an unnamed 23-year-old suspect had entered the liquor store around 3 a.m. armed with a rifle. Before the man could make any demands of the store owner, Cope brandished his shotgun and fired at the suspected robber who hightailed it outside where a car with three other potential criminals awaited, shouting, “He shot my arm off!”

“I don’t know that I did anything that somebody else wouldn’t have done,” he contended before stating “we need more people to stand up” and suggesting politicians are a big part of the problem.

“What you really need to do is put some pressure on the politicians because they got no clue what’s really going on out here in the real world,” Cope explained. “I could start naming names, but there’s a whole lot of them that are creating major problems for business owners”

As Norco, California is part of the greater Los Angeles area, it is more than likely that Cope was referring in part to Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón who is facing a second recall effort from frustrated Los Angelenos left to contend with escalating crime facilitated by the DA’s lax prosecutorial standards.

“There’s people out there that are not the best of people. There’s people that choose to be burglars. There’s people that choose to be armed robbers,” and because of soft-on-crime policies, the store owner asserted, they will be let back out on the street so, “the crime rate is escalating and it’s going to continue to escalate until they start putting the people away that are doing the bad things.”

“A lot of these people are career criminals,” he noted, making a distinction that progressive DAs fail to draw between one-time offenders that “goofed up” and those that “need to be locked up.” As a result, everyday people are left in harm’s way and forced into action.

“When you point that gun at me and you’re that close to me and I see what you’re carrying, I’m not waiting,” he stated — Cope estimated the entire encounter was over in less than 10 seconds, noting from when the suspect pointed a gun at him to his own defense was the barest of moments.

“In this case, a lawfully armed member of our community prevented a violent crime and ensured their own safety while being confronted with multiple armed suspects,” the sheriff’s department explained in a press release.

Tamara Gibbons, an employee of Cope’s since October, spoke to the Daily Mail about her boss’s character and expressed, “He’s just very kind and never turns anyone away. He treated everyone equally.”

Cope had experienced a heart attack after the incident and joked with Silva after returning to work the next day, “I don’t know what caused it. Maybe I’m just old.”

The three suspects that were awaiting the gunman were arrested at the local hospital where they had brought their wounded pal. They are being held on $500,000 bail and the unnamed injured reportedly would be arrested after discharge from the hospital.


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Kevin Haggerty


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