80-year-old store owner who shot would-be robber speaks out: ‘I did a lot of hunting when I was a kid’

The owner of a Norco convenience store who shot an attempted armed robber and then suffered a heart attack as a result of the ordeal returned to work on Tuesday and spoke out for the first time.

“I did a lot of hunting when I was a little kid.” the 80-year-old California liquor store owner seen on video opening fire on a would-be robber with a shotgun.

The incident occurred around 2:45 a.m. Sunday morning and was captured on the store’s security cameras. Cope fired his shotgun at the armed robber in self-defense. After being hit in the arm, the suspect fled the scene with four other suspects.

Watch the video:

The early Sunday incident at Norco Market & Liquor in Norco, just east of Los Angeles, prompted the armed suspect to flee, screaming, “he shot my arm off!”

“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,” the store’s owner, identified by CBS LA as Craig Cope, told the station. 

“I did a lot of hunting when I was a little kid,” he added. “I’d put food on the table. So, I still remember things from a long time ago.” 

Cope also told CBS LA that he thinks “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,” he also said. “Everybody works hard. They got bills to pay. These guys are going to come in and take it away from you. Not here.” 

Cope told Fox11 LA that “there wasn’t much time to think about” the incident as it unfolded. 

“When you point a gun directly at me and you are that close to me and I see what you are carrying I’m not waiting,” he said. 

The store owner also stated that the first sign that something was about to happen was when he saw the suspects “through the front door drive into this parking lot, but they didn’t park where a normal person would park, so that was a red flag.”