An armed robbery at a North Carolina convenience store turned deadly for the teenager who held up the family-owned business when a customer and concealed carry holder drew their own gun and fired several shots.

18-year old Malik Harris entered the store on Saturday morning armed with a gun, and began threatening workers and customers.

“There were three or four customers in the store. And the guy came in and put the gun on all the customers, made everyone come [behind the counter] at gunpoint,” said Adil Khawaja.

While the store employees and customers were huddled behind the register, another unsuspecting person walked into the store.

“He grabbed her by the neck, brought her back [behind the counter] at gunpoint,” Khawaja said.

As the robber was distracted, one of the customers pulled out his own gun and fired at Harris four to five times, striking the would-be robber and ending the threat. Harris was taken to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

“I wish it could have ended up differently,” said Khawaja. “Personally, I don’t want to see an 18 year old kid die. He didn’t even start his life yet. That was just a very, very poor decision in a state like North Carolina, where everyone has guns.”

I’m guessing every person in that store, including the armed citizen, wishes this story ended differently. Actually, the story should have started differently, with Malik Harris buying a candy bar or a soda instead of sticking a gun in people’s faces. Once Malik Harris made the decision to threaten the lives of innocent people, the armed citizen had a responsibility to protect himself and others if given the opportunity. When it came, he took it.

As Khawaja says, it was a very, very poor decision for Malik Harris to rob this store at gunpoint. If that armed citizen hadn’t been there, however, the story could also have ended up very differently. One or more of the customers and employees inside the store could have lost their own lives at the hands of the young armed robber.

I’m not glad that Malik Harris lost his life in the commission of a crime. I am thankful, however, that he wasn’t able to take any lives of his own, and that there was an armed citizen inside that store who was able to protect the innocent people around him. We know that no gun control law would have prevented Harris from walking inside that store illegally armed with a gun, but if anti-gun politicians and activists had their way, none of the other folks inside that business would have been legally armed for self-defense.

During Monday night’s town hall on Fox News, Michael Bloomberg said that he needed to be protected by armed security because he gets threats all the time. In truth, we never know when threats will materialize, and every law-abiding American should be able to defend themselves with a firearm of their own if the need ever arises. Most of us can’t afford to outsource our personal protection to a squad of armed guards. We have to do it ourselves, and that means being able to legally carry a firearm. As Malik Harris demonstrated, it’s not just billionaires who have their lives threatened. It can happen to any of us, even in line at a convenience store.