NORCO, Calif. - The elderly store owner in Norco who is going viral after video shows him shooting a would-be robber is being praised by the community for taking action and standing up against the criminals.
It was a shooting the bad guys never saw coming.
Authorities said that at 2:45 a.m. on Sunday, four male suspects in a black BMW SUV attempted to rob Norco Market & Liquor, located in the 2800 block of Clark Avenue.
As the suspect ran out of the store, surveillance video from outside the establishment showed a second suspect inside the black SUV exiting the vehicle, also armed. On their way back to the getaway car, the suspect is heard shouting, "He shot my arm off."
The store owner, later identified as Craig Cope, suffered a heart attack shortly after the incident. He has since been released from the hospital and is recovering.
Customers of this longtime Norco business have a lot to say about this armed robbery that ends with the good guy winning the battle.
"Wrong town to try [and] rob… Norco is a cowboy town, you have people riding horses and you should know they definitely own guns. F around and find out kinda town. Definitely will be stopping in and doing some shopping to support the local business," one commenter said on Facebook.
"Where's the store owner's GoFundMe link? That hero deserves a sandwich!" another said.
"Good, good shot old man! The not so tough thug is very lucky he did not get shot between the eyes," another person said.
"The clerk understood the assignment," someone else chimed in.
It seems like everyone in the community is proud of the way Cope handled himself.
"The criminals are in control of everything right now. And the fact that he turned around and showed them what for. I think it's amazing," one customer said.
"You know, I'm not for gun violence, but…. he wasn't the one doing the violence. The people that came in were the ones doing the violence. And that's what we need to understand in our society. When people are doing violence against us, we have the right to protect ourselves," another added.
Some, not too surprised.
"I've seen him a couple of times while I've been here and honestly, I can kind of expect that from him. He seems like a pretty bada** old man," one customer said.
Three suspects are now in jail. The robber who was injured is hospitalized in stable condition and will be taken into custody once released.
"I guess he gets what he deserves, so peace is done," one man said.
A little more than two days after the incident, FOX 11 got a chance to speak with Cope in his store.
His message for the suspects and those thinking of targeting his business?
"This isn't a good place to pick," Cope said.