Norco community remembers Craig Cope, storeowner who shot at would-be robbers
NORCO, Calif. - The Norco community gathered Sunday to mourn the death of Craig Cope, the 80-year-old store owner who went viral over the summer for fighting back against a group of would-be robbers.
Cope, was a well-respected member of the Norco community. He owned Norco Market & Liquor. He died last month, weeks after suffering a stroke.
Cope became a local hero of sorts after a group of armed men attempted to rob his store back in July. Early in the morning of July 31, four men masked men in what police described as a stolen BMW backed into the parking lot and got out of the SUV with guns.
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Cope, seeing the men in store surveillance footage, got out his gun and prepared to defend himself. He fired one shot at one fo the men who entered his store. The man then ran from the store, shouting, "He shot my arm off."
A two-hour celebration of life was held for Cope at the Whiskey River Dancehall and Saloon in Norco, with locals sharing stories of the man, some even wearing the "Don't mess with Norco, we'll shoot your arm off" shirts made after the viral incident.
"He did what everyone needs to do," said Norco resident Wendy Rodriguez. "He stood there, he drew a line, and he stood on it."
"I didn't have time to be afraid," Cope told back in July after the incident. "Literally from the time they got out of that car to when they came in was at most 10 seconds."
All four suspects in that attempted robbery were later arrested.