Fearing for life, pharmacist kills gunman
An attempted robbery at a North Side pharmacy turned deadly Wednesday morning when the business owner pulled out a gun and shot the suspected robber.
No other injuries were reported at the incident that happened about 10 a.m. at Babcock Square Pharmacy, located at the intersection of Babcock and Huebner Roads.
Police Chief William McManus said the suspect handed an employee behind the counter a note that demanded the narcotic drug OxyContin. The chief said the employee was somehow able to alert the pharmacy's owner, who retrieved his gun and confronted the suspect.
“The suspect saw his gun, and said, ‘Let's get it on,'” McManus said.
The owner, who saw a cocked revolver in the suspect's hand, pointed his gun at the suspect and shot him point-blank, McManus said. Only the owner, his wife, an employee and the robbery suspect were inside the store at the time of the shooting, according to authorities.
The chief said no charges would be filed against the owner, who was not immediately identified.
“He was in fear of his life, so this appears to be justified,” McManus said.
Police didn't immediately release the name of the slain robbery suspect. He was described as a white or Hispanic male.
Witnesses reported seeing the suspect, who was wearing a baseball cap, gloves and a bandana on his face, walk inside the store carrying a handgun.
Maria Martinez, who has worked at the pharmacy for three years, said the owner, in his 60s, began to keep a gun at the business for protection. He has owned the pharmacy for 26 years.
“They have to be protected, he had to protect his business and his wife,” Martinez said, adding the wife “was pretty freaked out.”
Martinez said it has been years since the pharmacy was last robbed.
McManus said he believes the suspect, who he said likely has a drug problem, was involved in other recent North Side robberies because the vehicle he was driving, a white Honda, matched the description of a car involved in Memorial Day weekend robberies. The car itself wasn't stolen, the chief said.
Billy Joe Honea was on his way in to pick up his mother-in-law's medication when police arrived on-scene. He said he missed the entrance to the shopping center at first — an action that cost him a few minutes, but may have saved his life.