A Norco store owner who shot an armed thief attempt, then had a heart attack as a result of the traumatic experience, returned to work Tuesday and was speaking for the first time.
CBSLA spoke to the store’s owner, 80-year-old Craig Cope, and his wife.
. Cope fired his gun in self-defense against the armed robber. The suspect was shot in the arm and fled with four other suspects.
Sheriff’s deputies said the 23-year-old suspect in Cope’s injury remains in critical condition.
Cobb’s wife, who did not want to be identified in front of the camera, said that her husband rarely uses his gun.
A loud explosion could be heard in the security footage and then shouted, as the gunman ran to his car repeatedly shouting, “Shoot my arm.”
CBSLA asked Cobb’s wife if he knew he had hit the suspect.
She said, “The man screamed. So, he thought he did it, but he didn’t know the extent of the damage, but the man is in the hospital, in critical condition. So, she must have been very well.” .
While running with the thieves’ attempt, Cope, father and grandfather, had a heart attack and needed three stents. He is now out of hospital and recovering.
In the store on 6th Street, the phone was ringing nonstop. There were calls from people as far away as Canada, praising Cope for his bravery. A man went to Norco Market and drank Eastfall liquor to show his support.
“…I was telling my fiancé by the time that happened, you didn’t have time to answer, you know, all you can get or all you can … especially, you know, for his own safety. You know, he had said Client Adrian Guzman:
According to Cobb’s wife, the shooting sends a message to criminals.
“Stay out of Norco, because everyone in Norco has a gun,” she said.
As for Cope himself, he spoke with CBSLA’s Michelle Gill on the first day at his store since the accident.
Asked what the experience was like for him, Cope said he did what he had to do.
“I’ve always been protecting my employees, my clients, and myself. That case, luckily, I was here on my own, so I just had to worry about that. I took care of him and that was it,” the 80-year-old said.
In response to his wife’s comment that he rarely shoots his rifle, he said he didn’t have much of a chance.
“I did a lot of fishing when I was a little kid,” he added. “I was putting fodder…food on the table. So, I still remember things from a long time ago.”
CBSLA asked Cobb if he had a message for fellow businessmen in his area and Southern California about the recent increase in crime in convenience stores and liquor stores. He had this to say:
“Well, I think more people should vote and vote the right way, and I think politicians…that won’t get me on the right side for a lot of people. But there are a lot of people out there, who have no idea what it’s like to try to run a small business. And when They let people out… and we have bad people, let’s face it. There are bad people, and bad people we don’t need. We need to lock them up because that’s a scary situation when that happens. Everyone works hard. They have bills to pay. These guys are going to come and take it from you. Not here. .”
The Public Prosecutor’s Office said three of the four suspects are scheduled to appear in court for the first time tomorrow on charges of burglary and conspiracy. The fourth suspect, who was shot by Cobb, remains in hospital in a critical but stable condition.