GOODYEAR, AZ — A Valley father who operates a fireworks stand with his wife talked to ABC15 about a terrifying confrontation with an armed robbery suspect that ended with gunfire and one person dead.
The man requested anonymity for the safety of his family. He said he was just thinking about closing up shop on the night of July 3rd when he saw an unexpected customer walking aggressively toward his stand, and instantly knew something did not seem right.
The rest happened quickly.
"I saw him turn a little bit away from me. He put a round in his pistol and said give me all of your money, and don't mess around," said the man.
Confronted with a gun right in his face, the father said all he could think about was his 13-year old daughter, who was with him at the time.
"At this point I am thinking, 'My daughter is outside. I don't want to get shot. I don't want anything to happen to her,'" said the man.
He says a dad's instinct along with the drive for self-preservation kicked in, and he instantly reached for his own gun and shot twice.
"I didn't know if he was going to try to get rid of witnesses. I didn't know what this man wanted. If he would have walked over with a baseball bat or knife, I would have had no problem pulling my gun out and saying, 'Hey, you really don't want to do this,' but when it's gun on gun.."
The father said he is grateful he had his weapon, a Ruger ICP pocket pistol, within reach.
"I am not a member of the NRA, I don't shoot regularly. I would like to but I don't have enough money. That is why me and my wife were running this stand. I haven't had a job since February, I have been driving for ride share. I know what it's like to need money," said the father.
His 13-year old daughter was perched on a tree just a few feet away from the stand and witnessed the incident.
"My mind instantly went to, 'Is this a robbery?'" Then she heard two gunshots.
"The whole time I was thinking, 'Is my dad dead? What will happen to me?'" said the teen.
The family said they were still shaken up over the incident, and their hearts went out to the family of the armed robbery suspect.
"It wasn't malicious, it was his decision to do this. I know they're grieving right now and will be for a long time. My heart goes out to them and I hope that God gives him peace over this," said the man.
He said many people had shown up to show their support for his actions the day after the shooting. He hoped those who supported him would show their support by helping the family bury their loved one, if they needed any help to do so.
"I'm sorry that this had to happen and you know, I wish the best for his family and for his kids," said the father.