Armed bingo hall patrons halt shooting, hold suspect at gunpoint

Armed bingo hall patrons halt shooting, hold suspect at gunpoint
Danny Johnston

A Florida man (you know it’s a good story when Florida Man plays a starring role) is in jail and facing multiple charges after allegedly assaulting and shooting at two women outside a bingo parlor in Escambia County before armed patrons were able to put a stop to the attack.

38-year old Lee David Wilkerson is staring down a litany of charges including aggravated assault, possession of a weapon by a convicted felon, and trafficking amphetamine, but thankfully he’s not facing any murder charges; in large part because of the swift action and quick thinking of two concealed carry holders who were at the bingo hall when Wilkerson allegedly attacked the women.

Deputies said they spoke with a victim who said Wilkerson had shot at her and her friend. The victim said she went to the business to get jumper cables from her mother who was playing bingo inside. She said she saw Wilkerson and another female standing outside of the business. According to the arrest report, the victim asked Wilkerson if they could go inside and tell the victim’s mother her daughter was here to get the jumper cables. The victim said Wilkerson told her, “no.”

According to the arrest report, the victim and her friend began to walk inside to get her mother, at which time Wilkerson and the other female began “acting strange.” The victim said at that time the woman started attacking her. The victim said that is when Wilkerson removed a small handgun from his right side, took the firearm and hit her in the left side of her head. One of the victim’s said Wilkerson then pointed the firearm at her and the other victim and began shooting towards them. According to the arrest report, one of the victims ran inside the business and the other went back to her vehicle and left the business. According to the victim inside the business, she heard more shots being fired as she entered the business.

A witness told police that shortly after the victim ran inside the bingo parlor, Wilkerson walked through the doors as well. That’s when he was confronted by two individuals who had their lawfully-carried firearms with them. Drawing down on Wilkerson, the pair held him at gunpoint until deputies arrived.

As deputies arrived at the business, deputies saw a white male, wearing a gray jacket and blue jeans lying on the floor with two unknown citizens holding him at gun point. Deputies said several customers inside the business began screaming and pointing at the white male on the ground saying, “He is the one who was shooting.”

Deputies said they detained Wilkerson and found a large baggie containing a crystallized rock substance and a fixed blade knife. Deputies said the crystallized rock substance tested positive for methamphetamine.

We’ll never know for sure, but this sounds like it could have easily turned into a mass shooting with multiple victims were it not for the fact that there were two armed citizens who were able to stop the suspect from doing any more damage… and without having to fire a single shot of their own. At the very least the presence of those armed citizens was enough to save a woman from potentially being shot after she was pursued into the bingo hall, bringing the threat to a halt and allowing police to take Wilkerson into custody.

We might never learn the names of these armed citizens, but these two individuals are heroes. They might not think of themselves that way, and I’m sure they didn’t intend to play that role when they holstered their pistol before they headed out that day, but nevertheless their ability and willingness to respond to a deadly threat defused that situation without harm to anyone involved, and I hope they get the commendations they deserve.