St. Louis armed citizen stops "violent crime spree," saves gas station store clerk

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While the 22-year old armed citizen who stopped an attack at an Indiana mall Sunday evening is receiving plenty of press attention, he wasn’t the only gun owner who saved lives this weekend.

Police in St. Charles, Missouri say a “violent crime spree” that started early Saturday morning came to an end when the knife-wielding robber was confronted by an alert citizen who had just stopped at a convenience store to run in and use the bathroom. As he was leaving the store he spotted a black SUV pulling in, and something apparently told him to stick around for a few moments. It’s a good thing he did, as he watched a man exit the vehicle and enter the store, only to appear moments later dragging the clerk to the counter with a knife to her neck.

“The witness retrieved his 9mm handgun, entered the store, and confronted the suspect,” police said. “The suspect grabbed his backpack and told the witness, ‘I have something for you.’ The suspect then comes from around the counter and approached the witness who fired several times at the suspect who fell to the floor.”

The witness and the clerk both called 911. When police arrived, they noticed that the black SUV had been reported stolen on Friday. Inside the vehicle were items they believed had been stolen from the second gas station.

A black SUV had also been reported at the scene when the first gas station was robbed. During that robbery, the suspect was said to have held a knife to a clerk’s throat while she emptied cash registers before he got in the vehicle and drove off.

In addition to the previous armed robbery, police believe the suspect was also responsible for a nearby burglary to a business that took place around the same time as the robberies.

Police have identified the suspect as 26-year old Lance Bush, a homeless man who was living in St. Louis. And while the armed citizen who stepped in and protected the clerk has not been identified, he is speaking out about what happened; telling local TV station KSDK that he knows he did the right thing.

“Taking somebody’s life is not an everyday thing, neither is saving someone’s life,” the customer, who wished to remain anonymous said.

… “I walked up to the door and I saw him with a knife to her throat. She was emptying out the cash register and I took a step in and peeked my head in to ask if everything was okay. I couldn’t see his face but he was saying yes, but I could see her face she was saying no, she was scared,” he said.

… “I pulled my gun up and I asked him are you sure everything’s okay and that’s when the suspect said ‘no it’s not okay, but I got something for you and he grabbed his bag, ran from around the counter and started running towards me and that’s when I fired shots,” the customer said.

He recalls shooting four times before Bush fell to the floor. Shortly after he told the clerk to call the police, he did as well.

“I don’t think I honestly had a choice. He already had a knife at her throat, he could’ve pulled out something bigger than what I had then you would’ve had two people dead instead of one,” he said.

His previous experience, training with guns and handling emergency situations, made him feel compelled to step in when other customers ran away.

“Instinct I would say. Instinct that’s just it. I guess knowing that I’m protected, I can protect somebody else,” he said.

This armed citizen wasn’t looking for a fight or a chance to be Billy Badass when he pulled into the QuikTrip parking lot. He was just looking for a place to use the facilities. When confronted with the fact that an armed robbery was taking place right in front of him, with a woman being held with a knife to her throat, he chose to step in and protect her when he could have easily just stayed in his car and called 911 from there. Because he chose to confront her attacker she was able go home at the end of her shift instead of being rushed to the hospital.

I don’t know any concealed carry holder who walks around hoping that today will be the day their life or the life of another is put in such grave danger that deadly force is called for, no matter how many times gun control activists accuse gun owners of being trigger happy vigilantes. It sounds like this armed citizen is still rightfully shaken up by what happened, but I’m thankful that he was there and was able to prevent Bush from potentially escalating the armed robbery to a homicide.