Philadelphia Needs More People Like This Guy!
The luncheonette had been targeted before. "He was defending his family as far as I'm concerned," said a top Phila. police official.
By Joseph A. Gambardello
Inquirer Staff Writer
The owner of a West Oak Lane luncheonette pulled his licensed revolver and fired on a pair of armed robbers yesterday, killing one and wounding the other.
The owner was identified as Jason Lee, whose Sunrise Breakfast on the 1900 block of East Washington Lane had been the target of at least one stickup before.
"He was defending his family as far as I'm concerned," Chief Inspector Joseph Fox, chief of detectives, said earlier in the day. "He did what he had to do."
Lee told 6ABC last night that he was "sorry" for what happened. "I did not have a choice," he said, adding he feared for his life and that of his wife.
Police identified the slain robber as Cornell Toombs, 20, of the 1500 block of East Tulpehocken Avenue. The other suspect, Gary Williams, 24, of the 1700 block of East Mohican Street, was in guarded condition at Albert Einstein Hospital, police said.
Fox said Lee, his wife and a waitress were opening the restaurant about 6:30 a.m. when two men walked in, pulled revolvers and announced a robbery.
The actual sequence of events is under investigation, but Fox said one man got behind the counter with the owner.
The owner somehow grabbed his own revolver and "when he had an opportunity, he fired," Fox said.
The gunman behind the counter fell dead with a gunshot wound to the head.
The other man pegged two shots at the owner, who returned fire, hitting him in the face, police said.
What happened next was captured in a cell-phone video, which several local television stations broadcast in full.
The gunman stumbled out the door and fell to the sidewalk with the owner right behind him, gun in hand.
The owner ordered the man to stay down, turned back and went into the store. When the bandit got up and tried to walk away, the owner came back out, pulled the man down to the ground and put his foot on him while pointing the gun at the prone suspect.
After viewing the video, Fox said Lee's actions were something "you don't normally expect the average citizen to take." But, he added, "He did the right thing."
"It gives us an indication that the owner came out and didn't do anything but hold the suspect until police arrived," Fox said.
Gary Miles, who shot the video, said crime has been increasing in the neighborhood.
"I always thought there was going to be some trouble, and I was ready for it," he said.
In May, Jahbarie Francis, 8, who lives on the street behind the restaurant, was wounded in a crossfire.
Yesterday, his mother, Deserie Jones-Wright, stood in the late-morning chill outside Sunrise Breakfast, where, she said, her daughter had considered taking a job.
Her emotions fluctuated between a certain satisfaction and sadness.
"He sent a message, loud and clear," she said of the eatery's owner. "People aren't going to tolerate this.
"Still, it's sad, so sad. My son's shooting made me feel uncomfortable. This makes me feel even more uncomfortable... I feel sorry for the parents of whoever did this," she said, referring to the two would-be robbers.
"Thirty six years I've been in this neighborhood," her friend Anne Dukes said, "and it seems things are just happening - not just here, everywhere."
Residents and shop workers in the neighborhood knew little about the owner - most did not know his name - but they said the luncheonette served good food and was busy during its hours of operation - 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Miles' daughter, Brandi Miles, 18, who knows Lee only by his first name, said: "He was easy to get along with - always smiling. I don't know why someone would do this."
Contact staff writer Joseph Gambardello at 215-854-2153 or email@example.com.
The TrekMedic adds:
In another blow to the weak-kneed, "let's talk" liberals that allow these criminal elements to walk free:
WASHINGTON — A federal appeals court on Friday overturned the District of Columbia's longstanding handgun ban, issuing a decision that will allow the city's citizens to have working firearms in their homes.
In the ruling, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia rejected city officials' arguments that the Second Amendment right to bear arms only applied to state militias.
District of Columbia Mayor Adrian Fenty told reporters Friday afternoon that the District will appeal the ruling.
In a 2-1 decision, the judges held that the activities protected by the Second Amendment "are not limited to militia service, nor is an individual's enjoyment of the right contingent upon his or her continued intermittent enrollment in the militia."
"This is a huge case," Alan Gura, the plaintiffs' lead lawyer, told FOXNews.com Friday afternoon. "It's simply about whether law-abiding citizens can maintain a functioning firearm, including a handgun, inside their house."
Gura said his six clients, all Washington residents, challenged three separate District of Columbia laws: A 31-year-old law that prevents handgun registration; a law that requires rifles and shotguns to be either disassembled or disabled when being stored; and a law that requires a permit to carry a gun in your own home.