Armed robber picks target full of armed citizens

(AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

I know it’s still early, but this will be a strong contender for my favorite defensive gun use of the year when 2023 comes to a close.

A Georgia man who attempted to rob a gas station at gunpoint ended up in police custody after three armed citizens put a stop to the crime, without ever having to pull the trigger themselves.


According to the Gilmer County Sheriff’s Office in north Georgia, 39-year old Shawn Sutton strolled in to the Ideal Mart and grabbed an energy drink. When he got to the check-out counter, however, Sutton didn’t pull out his wallet. Instead drew a gun… but not before using an unusual disguise to try to hide his face.

After obtaining the energy drink, the suspect pulled a pair of women’s panties from around his neck to cover his face. He went behind the counter and pointed a .45 cal. pistol at the head of the clerk and demanded all the money.

A customer, legally carrying a concealed pistol, produced his firearm and intervened in the robbery while the second customer went to his vehicle, obtained his pistol, and returned to assist the first customer in subduing the suspect.

There was a third customer at the Ideal Mart when the attempted robbery took place, but he was outside at the gas pumps. When the second customer ran outside to grab his pistol from his car, the guy at the gas pumps then got his pistol and headed inside to assist the two other armed citizens.


According to the report from the sheriff’s office, Sutton was trying to leave when officers first arrived on scene, and continued trying to flee, which resulted in a Taser being deployed against him.

Once he was taken into custody police discovered his wife waiting in an nearby vehicle, and she too was arrested. Shawn Sutton is now facing a variety of charges, including felon in possession of a firearm and armed robbery.

Now, as amusing as it is to picture a guy trying to rob a store with a pair of (hopefully freshly laundered) panties over his face, the fact is that this was an incredibly serious situation. Who knows how far Sutton might have been willing to go to get the money inside the store’s cash register, including taking the life of the store clerk. Thankfully every single customer at the Ideal Mart when Sutton walked in was armed for their own protection, and were able to come to the aid of the clerk; stopping the robbery in its tracks and allowing authorities to make an arrest.

According to the conventional “wisdom” (I use that term loosely) of gun control advocates, the presence of three armed citizens plus an armed robber should have led to confusion and chaos once police arrived, but it sounds like the first officers on the scene had little trouble piecing together what was going on. Frankly, I’m sure they were delighted to see the armed citizens holding the suspect at gunpoint instead of rolling up on the scene to find a store clerk who’d been shot or killed. This incident ended about as well as anyone could have hoped for… or at least anyone who didn’t walk into the store with a gun in their pants and a pair of panties on their head.



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