On Thursday, two men in Venice, Illinois pulled up next to an elderly man and his friend, spinning a ruse of needing directions before they pulled a gun on him in an attempted robbery, according to this story from theblaze.com.
But the man wasn’t the easy targets the two young robbers had been hoping for.
It turned out the potential victim is a 70-year-old Vietnam veteran from nearby St. Louis who was carrying a concealed firearm, permitted by the state of Missouri, the story says.
When the robbers pulled the gun, the man drew his own and fired, fatally shooting 19-year-old Billy Dickerson in the head and wounding 23-year-old Perry Richardson in the arm and chest, the story says.
“He feared for his own life,” Madison County (Illinois) State’s Attorney Tom Gibbons told KDSK-TV. “He feared for the life of his friend and just took decisive action in that moment.”
In accordance with state law, Richardson has been charged with first-degree murder in connection with Dickerson’s death. When he is released from the hospital, he will be taken to jail and held without bond.
The would-be robbery victim and his friend were not identified. Illinois doesn’t recognize concealed carry permits from other states, though it does issue nonresident permits. The story doesn’t mention any charges pending against the victim.
“If you’re engaged in a forceable felony and someone—no matter who—dies during the course of your crime, you are accountable for murder,” Gibbons told the TV station. He said that both suspects were wanted for violent crimes in Missouri and Illinois.
“The courts have consistently recognized the right of a law-abiding citizen to carry a concealed weapon for the purpose of self-defense,” Gibbons said in a statement. “This incident yesterday morning is the exact situation where the necessity for this right becomes crystal clear.”