Sunday, July 30, 2023

Missouri Killer was Never Caught

Death of a Miser

By Robert A. Waters

Jack Pyle lived a small life in a small community. He never rated an article in the local newspapers—until neighbors found him shot to death in his hoarded-up cabin. Even then, media of the day found it hard to peg him into a neat little basket. There wasn’t even a picture of him in the stories about his slaying. But I think what drew me to him was his fiddle. The one he made.

In 1908, Jack Pyle, 56, lived in Holt County, Missouri. A widower, his only living relatives were a brother and a daughter who resided in Kansas. Pyle rented a “shack” and five acres from Emmit Haer, about three miles outside the village of Craig. The Corning Mirror reported that he “raised chickens and pigs and worked by day for nearby neighbors.” Living within yards of the Missouri River, Pyle often sold fish to augment his income.

The Mirror stated that “on Saturday morning, August 23, at 11:30 o’clock, Jack Pyle was found dead on his kitchen floor in the Lake Shore district. On Monday and Tues. the 17th and 18th he had been helping Jim Allan make hay. He took supper at Mr. Allan’s Tuesday evening. This was the last seen of him.” Allan had paid Pyle $60.00 for his services.

Pyle, described variously as a “recluse,” a “miser,” or a “hermit,” lived in a small, cluttered cabin. For years, rumors circulated in town that he had a stash of gold coins secreted in his home. He was said to be irritable at times, and somewhat “daffy.” But he was a good worker, so neighbors put up with his quirky habits.

The St. Joseph Press reported the obvious. “Robbery is believed to have been the motive for the killing,” the headline read. On Tuesday, after working with Allan, Pyle visited Haer. He spoke to his landlord about wanting to purchase a small farm. Pyle showed Haer his earnings and said he planned to use the cash as a down-payment.

He hadn’t been seen since leaving the Haer farm and, after a week, neighbors went to Pyle’s home to check on him.

Investigators told reporters the victim had been sitting in a chair eating supper when someone fired a shotgun through the window, hitting him in the temple. The killer then entered the residence, stole Pyle’s small wad of cash, and placed a “rust-colored and cobweb-choked shotgun” across his body. If this was intended to make Pyle’s death look like a suicide, it failed. Dust and spider-webs blocked the inside of the barrel and the coroner, who was in charge of the case, proved the gun had not been fired in months.

Pyle’s cabin sat alone in a remote area of Haer’s property, making the victim an easy target for robbers. The place had been ransacked, and news reports speculated the killer may have been searching for the fabled gold. Whether the alleged stash was found, or even existed, is still a mystery.

As investigators searched for his killer, the community laid Pyle to rest in Mt. Hope Cemetery in Corning. Suspicion fell on a farmhand who worked for Emmit Haer. The worker was known to have a shotgun and disappeared the day of the murder.

He was never found.

Five months after his interment, The Leader reported “an exhumation and examination of the body was made a few days ago by Doctors J. M. Davis and Edgar Miller of this place…Only the skull was exhumed and examined, all the necessities of the inquiry being answered by it.” 

Unfortunately, there were actually few answers, the main one being that the shooter had stood outside Pyle’s window. (Of course, that had already been determined by investigators.) “The load [from the shotgun shell] ranged downward at a rather sharp pitch,” editors wrote, “tearing an oblique hole in the floor of the skull and into the pharynx. Of the forty or fifty shot taken from the wound a large proportion were in the pharynx, the remainder in the skull.”

After the exhumation, the case died. 

Pyle probably never saw the shooter. The murderer did seem to have some cunning about him. Placing Pyle’s own shotgun on his body didn’t convince investigators that Pyle had committed suicide, but it showed a bit of creativity in the killer’s makeup.

Speaking of creativity, Jack Pyle seemed to have an artistic streak. Among his possessions, authorities found a hand-made violin. The box and the arm of the violin had been made of driftwood found along the banks of the river. Pyle had cut it into shape, then scraped and polished the wood to perfection. Finally, he added keys and strings to it. A local musician played the violin and told reporters it was worth at least $100 (an equivalent of $3,100 in today’s world). Homemade violins are often found, the musician stated, but few meet the quality of Pyle’s.

When I read about the violin, I wondered if the lonely laborer enjoyed attending local hoedowns. Did he take pleasure in hearing musicians play the fiddle while people danced and enjoyed themselves? Did he flirt with local women at these dances? Was he a musician himself? I'd like to know more about Jack Pyle's life.

It's been 115 years since the "hermit" died.

If any of my readers have additional information, shoot me a message.

Thursday, July 27, 2023

New book review of A Wilderness of Destruction by Zack C. Waters

A Wilderness of Destruction: Confederate Guerrillas in East and South Florida, 1861-1865By Zack C. Waters. Macon: Mercer University Press, 2023. Hardcover, 259 pp. $39.00.

Reviewed by Patrick Kelly-Fischer

Zack C. Waters’ latest work, A Wilderness of Destruction: Confederate Guerrillas in East and South Florida, 1861-1865, is a detailed addition to the relatively narrow body of work that has addressed Civil War Florida.

While the book’s main focus is around the state’s guerrilla war, particularly outside the Panhandle, Waters frames that discussion within an argument that Florida was more significant to the war than is traditionally recognized. He highlights the importance of blockade runners utilizing Florida’s many small ports and rivers, the thousands of Union troops tied down by relatively small Confederate forces, and the critical role the state played in supplying cattle and salt to the Armies of Tennessee and Northern Virginia, especially after mid-1863.

Structured chronologically, the book begins several days before the state had even seceded, when a company of militia received orders to seize military stores from the federal arsenal in Chattahoochee. It continues through the removal of most Confederate troops to reinforce the armies in Tennessee and Virginia, and the resulting focus by state authorities on irregular warfare with the few means still at their disposal.

Waters’ work continues the narrative through to mid-1865. While civil authority had largely broken down even in Confederate-held territory by the end of the war, fighting continued into late April of 1865. As late as that spring, standing Union orders were that no detachment under 1,000 men was to venture outside of occupied St. Augustine for fear of guerrilla attacks.

The book contains plenty of that kind of typical guerrilla warfare: ambushing small Federal patrols, or individual soldiers who strayed outside of the lines, and the resulting reprisals by Union troops. Waters provides a close-up, granular look at the more brutal realities of partisan warfare: night raids, hit lists of civilians, homes destroyed, and families torn apart.

All of this is framed within the context of the wider war in Florida, allowing Waters to delve into everything from the smallest ambush to guerrilla participation in the full-scale Battle of Olustee, and everything in between.

Waters carefully highlights the complicated dynamics of this kind of irregular warfare, as regular soldiers on both sides received support from partisan units, militia and home guards, and armed bands of deserters. He also weaves in the complicated dynamics of race in a state that was, as of the 1860 census, just barely majority White.

The importance of the blockade to the war effort in Florida, the number of small ports, and the narrow navigable rivers through the interior of the state mean that there’s plenty for naval enthusiasts to enjoy here.

In order to go into this level of depth on a relatively understudied topic, Waters has had to dig deep in his research efforts. Traditional sources like the Official Records are layered on top of the work other Florida Civil War scholars have published and woven together with much more obscure primary source documents and unpublished manuscripts.

With a couple of small exceptions, Waters largely avoids the trap of overstating the importance of an understudied theater. He convincingly makes the case that Florida mattered without trying to sell the reader on the idea that these events singularly defined the course of the war, or that they were as significant to the outcome as better-known theaters.

In short, Waters has succeeded in writing a book that, while an in-depth study of a niche subject in a relatively obscure theater of the war, is also highly readable and a valuable resource.

Review of Zack Waters' book A Wilderness of Destruction

Thursday, July 20, 2023

Murder at the QuikTrip

Oklahoma Executes Brutal Killers of Store Manager

By Robert A. Waters

“How sad that to Billy Don Alverson, a life is only worth a new pair of Nikes.”  Chester Cadieux III, president and CEO of QuikTrip Corporation.

On January 7, 2011, CBS News reported that the "Oklahoma Department of Corrections says 39-year-old Billy Don Alverson was pronounced dead at 6:10 p.m. Thursday after receiving a lethal dose of drugs while strapped to a hospital gurney. Alverson was among four men convicted in the February 1995 killing of 30-year-old Richard Yost, who was the night manager of a convenience store in Tulsa. His body was found bound and beaten on the blood-soaked floor of the store's cooler."

The brutality of the crime and indifference shown by the killers certainly made death the only just punishment.

Yost, married with two children, managed the night shift of the QuikTrip convenience store on 251 North Garnett Road. Yost clocked in at 11:00 p.m. on February 25, 1995. He replaced clerk Michael Wilson, who left the store.

At around 4:00 a.m., Wilson returned to the store with three other men: Billy Don Alverson, Darwin D. Brown, and Richard Harjo, 17. They chatted for a few minutes until Yost left the counter area and began cleaning the windows of the coolers. (It's likely Yost felt uncomfortable around the men and attempted to move away from them.)

Within seconds, all four men surrounded the manager. According to court documents, the "defendants attacked [Yost] and dragged him to the back room. One of the defendants, Billy Alverson, came back out and picked up some items that were knocked from the shelves and kept watch for customers. A few moments later, Alverson and Harjo walked out the front of the store. While they were going out, Yost was yelling and screaming for help, possibly thinking that a customer had entered the store."

The men duct-taped Yost's legs and placed handcuffs on his wrists.

The court wrote that "Alverson and Harjo re-entered the store with Harjo carrying a black aluminum baseball bat. He carried the bat to where Yost had been taken. The surveillance camera picked up the sounds of the bat striking Yost. Circumstantial evidence showed that the baseball bat struck the handcuffs on Yost's wrists which Yost was holding above his head to ward off the blows. As the blows were being struck, Wilson walked from the back room, checked his hands, put on a QuikTrip jacket, got behind the counter and tried to move the safe. While Wilson was behind the counter, several customers came in. Wilson greeted them with a friendly greeting, sold them merchandise, then said, 'Thank you, come again,' or 'have a nice day.'"

In between serving customers, Wilson continued working to remove the safe. He also took all the cash from the register and pulled money out of the currency change machine. He and his cohorts eventually located the store's dolly and used it to roll the safe to Wilson's car where they placed it in the back seat. Before leaving the store, Wilson extracted the surveillance video and took it with him. The safe contained $30,000 in cash. When the killers got home, they pried it open and retrieved the money.

The court wrote that "Yost's body was discovered by Larry Wiseman, a customer, at about 6:00 a.m. Yost was laying on the floor in a pool of blood, milk and beer."

Yost had been struck more than 50 times with the bat. His arms and hands were bruised and broken, showing he'd attempted to resist the attack. The medical examiner found a pin from the handcuffs embedded in Yost's head.

While speaking with customers who had been at the store that night, detectives learned that Wilson was working the counter between 4:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. Investigators placed his home under surveillance. When he and the other suspects got into Wilson's car, cops pounced, arresting them. Detectives discovered large sums of cash on all the suspects except Wilson. When arrested, each suspect wore a brand-new pair of expensive Nike sneakers.

Wilson quickly confessed to being the mastermind behind the robbery and murder. He told interrogators the four had planned the crime for two weeks before carrying it out. While searching Alverson's home, cops found the drop safe, the dolly, QuikTrip glass cleaner, money tubes and the store surveillance tape. In Wilson's home, investigators discovered the blood-stained baseball bat, a bloody QuikTrip jacket with Yost's name on it, Wilson's Nike jacket matching the one seen in the surveillance video, and part of the cuff that had broken off the handcuffs. This trove of incriminating evidence proved beyond doubt that the four men had committed the murder.

Wilson, Alverson, and Brown were convicted and sentenced to death. Since Harjo was only 17 at the time of the murder, he beat the system, receiving only a sentence of life in prison without parole.

Sixteen years after the cold-blooded murder, Alverson went to that eternal sleep with a needle in his arm. Darwin Brown was executed in 2009, and Michael Wilson's appeals ran out in 2014.

Years later, during some of Alverson's numerous appeals, Angela Houser-Yost wrote that her husband's murder devastated her and her family. She stated that her sons were eight-years-old and two-years-old at the time he was killed. "Anxiety plays a major role in my life now," she said. "I can also sense when the anniversary of Richard's death is without looking at a calendar. I start shutting down inside and avoid talking with family and friends."  

Richard Yost

Sunday, July 16, 2023

Book Review: Cuba's Eternal Revolution by Miguel A. Faria, Jr., MD


In this interview with the author, Dr. Miguel A. Faria, Jr. discusses his new book, Cuba's Etermal Revolution.

1 —A British publisher has released your new book, Cuba's Eternal Revolution Through the Prism of Insurgency, Socialism and Espionage. Why not an American publisher? 

Let’s face it, the publishing industry, like the ruling establishment, is controlled by the left. Politically correct “peer reviewers” and Marxist professors, who sit in the Ivory Towers of academia, decide what gets published, including medical and scientific works, and will censor most of the material that does not go along with the prevailing views. As you know, I discussed this in some detail in my 2019 book, America, Guns, and Freedom: A Journey Into Politics and the Public Health & Gun Control Movements. I had a very difficult time getting the book published. For this book and my previous book, Controversies in Medicine and Neuroscience: Through the Prism of History, Neurobiology, and Bioethics (April, 2023), I was fortunate to have an invitation to publish from Cambridge Scholars Publishing in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. It seems they had perused my published works on my website and at Surgical Neurology International (SNI), and decided they wanted my work updated, revised, and re-written for their editorial needs. Frankly, I really think that the British—who have always had a high level of civility, affinity for tradition, and learning—have gotten a bit scared seeing the U.S. turn to insane, leftward politics—such as wokeness, Critical Race Theory, trampling on freedom of expression, and political correctness bordering on censorship. I also suspect they wanted a conservative voice among the many leftist writers in academia, including their own publishing establishment that also leans left in the political establishment. And therein, I suspect, lies the invitation that I hope lasts for one or two more books.

2 – I have always felt that Cuba has more natural resources than some continents. With these resources available, why is Cuba one of the poorest nations in the Western Hemisphere?

Simply because Cuba is restricted by the central planning and repression of a typical communist or socialist country. Remember, Lenin, Stalin, the Castro brothers, all frequently referred to socialism and communism interchangeably. In the Gulag Archipelago, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn alluded to how the working Russian in the former USSR acted busy, pretended to work, but, in reality, did the least possible amount of labor; and there was also a Russian saying that, “the government pretends to pay us, and we pretend to work.” Therein lies the economic failure of socialism: People do not produce when they do not get rewarded for the fruits of their labors. Then there is also the political reason, which is that people do not produce in a climate of repression, where innovation is not rewarded and, in fact, may be dangerous, and the invisible hand of the free market is restricted, And this summarizes the Cuban situation today as well. There is no economic or political freedom on the island.

3 – Why do so many Americans, particularly celebrities, view Cuba as a tropical paradise? 

Unfortunately, celebrities are drawn to leftist politics because of the nature of insecurity of the entertainment industry. Moreover, in the case of American celebrities, their level of education is frequently wanting, so they easily conform to the prevailing views of the establishment to preserve their jobs and contracts. 

Frankly, the media propaganda, the indoctrination by Marxist academia, the popular culture—all of which began in the 1960s—has created a mythic island only 90 miles from this shore that has allured many idealistic youths as well as easily indoctrinated Americans, who are blinded to the truth. I also discussed this in the book in reference to the Venceremos Brigade and the idolization of Che Guevara and the myths about his deeds, not to mention his own death.  

4 – Why has Che Guevara become a hero to some Americans?

The mythic island I referred to includes Che Guevara, as I mentioned. The media and academia not only propagated many lies about Guevara but also romanticized his deeds, even when they were grand failures. This was possible because of Che’s good looks and the use of propaganda, which included pictures taken after his execution, in which some people saw in him another messiah. 

“Chapter 7: Che Guevara, Ernest Hemingway, and Víctor Dreke,” shows Che as the cold-blooded executioner he really was at La Cabaña prison, his blunders in the Congo war in Africa, and his lethal miscalculation in Bolivia. The chapter should be an eye-opener to the uninitiated.

5 – Your book relates the story of Cuba’s “War Against the Bandits.” Most Americans don’t know anything about that unsuccessful uprising against communism. What’s the story?

After the Revolution turned repressive and it became clear that Fidel Castro was steering the nation into the Soviet camp, hundreds of former rebels went back to the hills, especially the Escambray Mountains of my native Las Villas province, to fight against the tyranny of the Castro brothers. They were followed by hundreds of peasants (campesinos) who had lost their land to collectivization—a propaganda campaign sold as needed “agrarian reform” to end the latifundia of the rich landowners. 

Eventually 3,500 rebels referred to as alzados or “bandits” by the communist authorities, took up arms in an insurrection from 1959 to 1965, which caused more casualties than the Cuban Revolution against Fulgencio Batista. Outnumbered, outgunned, and their feat unreported by the American media, the alzados were abandoned by the U.S., which had formerly encouraged and initially assisted them. All of this is described in detail in chapters 2 and 3.

6 – Is Cuba a friend to the environment?

Absolutely not. Year after year, Cuba’s once wondrous landscape that Christopher Columbus, Admiral of the Ocean Seas, called “the most beautiful land that human eyes have ever seen,” was defaced and defiled by the predatory, anti-environmental polices of Fidel and Raúl Castro for the benefit of themselves and the upper echelon of the regime, namely, the privileged mayimbe class in the Cuban military and the Communist Party nomenklatura. Environmental degradation occurred alongside tourist development on the Caribbean island. But hardly anyone noticed or complained as the silent ecological tragedy unfolded, and many of Cuba’s once beautiful flora and bountiful fauna vanished. From the Sierra Club and other environmental groups there was only deafening silence. The environmental and ecological catastrophe being perpetrated has been virtually carried out in almost conspiratorial silence for over six decades of communist rule. The tourists only see the Potemkin villages that the Cuban government wants them to see. I discussed this tragedy in “Chapter 10: The Silent War Against the Environment.”

7 – What do you want readers to gain from your book?

I wish to debunk the socialist propaganda, rebut the misinformation and lies, and counter the concerted propaganda of the media, particularly the American media that repeats and augments the communist propaganda of the Cuban government. In short, I want to correct the historic record and enlighten readers about the realities of Cuba’s Eternal Revolution.

8 – It’s been reported that China is building a spy station in Cuba, primarily to eavesdrop on America. This seems frightening to me. What do you know about this and what do you think about it?

Unfortunately, it is true. China has been using Cuba, another friendly communist state and also in America’s “own backyard,” as a theater for espionage operations against its main enemy—the United States. In the last two decades, China began replacing and updating Cuba’s obsolete “non-lethal” technical equipment on the island. At a time of political or military crisis, Cuba could supply Beijing with a strategic operational base against America during any escalation or confrontation, or even war, in this increasingly perilous world. At the military base in Bejucal, China already had technicians working with Cubans in updating SIGINT equipment and gathering intelligence against the United States. The Chinese have also announced that they plan to reopen and update the old Soviet SIGINT base at Lourdes near Havana for that same purpose. Yet, the American media continues to ignore the threat that China poses to the United States—with its close ties to Latin American nations, such as China’s assistance to Panama in controlling the Panama Canal and upgrading Cuba’s intelligence gathering operations. And, the final two chapters in the book cover Cuban espionage activities against the United States, both SIGINT and HUMINT.

9 – Why is Cuba’s Eternal Revolution not offered by Amazon? Where can readers order it?

Actually, I’m hoping that it will soon be available at least via Amazon in the United States. Thank you for your interest in my book and asking the correct questions, which the mainstream media seldom do in the present age.

Book Review:

Cuba's Eternal Revolution Through the Prism of Insurgency, Socialism and Espionage

Author: Miguel A. Faria Jr., MD

Publisher: Cambridge Scholars Publishing


Release date: June 22, 2023

Saturday, July 8, 2023

Today Marks the 700th Post on my Kidnapping, Murder and Mayhem blog…
By Robert A. Waters

I posted my first story, The Kidnapping of Dee Scofield, on January 16, 2008. This crime happened in my hometown of Ocala, Florida, and has never been solved. It likely never will be. Cops have no body, no DNA, or any real evidence. In the middle of the day in a small city, a young girl simply vanished. Shortly after the abduction, she may have been seen with two men near the vast Ocala National Forest where there are millions of places to hide a body.

For many decades, I’ve been interested in stories of self-defense. My first book, The Best Defense: True Stories of Intended Victims Who Defended Themselves with a Firearm, was published in 1998. Many Americans have been taught that cases in which would-be victims successfully fight back are rare, but they’re not. Check out this true story, one of nearly 100 such cases I’ve written about in my blog: Firearm trumps knife and bear spray. Without a gun, Dawna Hetzler would certainly have been raped and murdered.

I love old-time country and bluegrass music, as well as folk and blues tunes. Early rock ‘n’ roll is also a favorite, as is Cajun and gospel music. So, it’s natural that I would write many blogs about music and musicians. Here’s a story I wrote about one of my favorite singers: Johnny Horton. Then there's the history of The Knoxville Girl, a murder ballad that dates back to the 16th century.

My view of American history, particularly the so-called Civil War, is out of the mainstream. I’ve researched that conflict--many myths are taught as fact today. Here is one story that contradicts the modern view of Civil War history: Nightmare at Elmira. Lincoln's war machine murdered thousands of Rebel prisoners of war, and, after the Civil War, slew thousands of innocent Indian women and children. The 1870 Marias Massacre tells that story. (By the way, all my historical writings are supported by factual documentation.)
Artist's Picture of Indian Women and Children being Murdered by the United States Army

Of course, true crime is the mainstay of my blog. Unsolved cases intrigue me. The Short Family Murders is a sad example. Here are a few other stories I recommend:

The Man Without a Heart. The kidnappings and murders of two young boys had never been written about online until I read about the case in my research.

Reanimating the Killer. I love stories that have odd twists, and this one is a doozy. A mad doctor almost got to try to bring an executed killer back to life.

The Forgotten Victim. William Reese was one of serial killer Andrew Cunanan’s victims. A life well-lived, a death still mourned.


I invite any interested reader to peruse my blog. There are no ads to frustrate you, and comments are all respectful, with no profanity. (I will not post hateful, profane messages.) You'll find hundreds of intriguing cases of kidnapping, murder and mayhem.

I also ask that you check out my website:

Any of the six books I've written will make wonderful gifts for those you love.

Wednesday, July 5, 2023

Norco, California Store Owner ROUTS Armed Robbers

“He Shot my Arm Off!”                    

By Robert A. Waters

Inside his business, Norco Market and Liquor, 80-year-old Craig Cope watched a live feed as surveillance cameras recorded events taking place outside his store. A black SUV backed into a parking spot on the side of the building. That’s unusual, Cope thought. Most customers park straight-on in the nearest space. He watched as the vehicle’s doors flew open and three men exited, all wearing masks and hoodies. On camera, he clearly saw that each carried a gun.

Cope readied himself for the inevitable. Using the counter for cover, he aimed a shotgun, loaded and ready to fire, at the door’s entrance.

The first robber entered the store and pointed an AR-15 style rifle directly at the storeowner. “Hands in the air!” he shouted. “Hands in the air! Hands in the air!” But before he could make another step inside, Cope blasted off a round. The explosion shook the room as buckshot rattled along a counter, sweeping papers and foodstuffs off the shelf.

Cope knew that most robbers are cowards—as long as they have the upper hand, they can be brutal. But turn the tables and they’re quivering little suckups. This robber was no different. He wheeled and raced out of the store, screaming, “He shot my arm off! He shot my arm off! He shot my arm off!” The other men panicked and dashed straight toward the BMW. The driver, so flustered that he almost left a robber behind, squealed out of the parking lot.

Within seconds, the area sat empty.   

The following day, Riverside County Sheriff’s Department released a report: “On Sunday, July 31, 2022, about 2:47 a.m., deputies from the Norco Sheriff’s Station responded to reports of an attempted armed robbery at a business located in the 800 block of 6th Street. The investigation was corroborated by surveillance video and revealed four armed suspects arrived at the business in a dark-colored vehicle. These suspects approached the business entrance armed with long guns wearing facial coverings and hoods. Immediately upon entering the business with the rifles pointed at the ready, an employee inside the business fired a single shot from a shotgun, causing the suspects to flee the business.

“With the assistance of another law enforcement agency, the suspects were located at a hospital in the Southern California region, one of whom was suffering from a gunshot wound consistent with a shotgun blast. Three additional suspects were also located at the hospital in the suspect vehicle, which had been previously reported as stolen. The vehicle, a dark-colored BMW SUV, was also found to contain numerous stolen firearms.”

The suspects were identified as Rasheed Belvin, 23 (pictured); Justin Johnson, 22; Jamar Williams, 27; and Davon Broadus, 24. Belvin had been shot in the shoulder, a non-life-threatening injury.

That night, Cope suffered a heart attack.

After recuperating and returning to work, Craig Cope gave an interview to a local reporter. His observations seem important enough that I’m publishing it in full.

Gina Silva, Fox 11 News: The community is just absolutely in such support of this gentleman here, Craig Cope. Thank you for joining us here. Now we’ll start right away because we don’t have a lot of time. But when this happened to you on Sunday, when you saw them coming in that door with what appeared to be an AR-15, what were your thoughts?

Cope: There wasn’t much time to think about it. The guy pointed a gun directly at me and it was just him or me.

Silva: You acted right away. Frankly, if it had been me, I’d probably be dead. I wouldn’t know what to do and freeze. But you knew?

Cope: Yeah, I’m not going to give him the chance. I mean, I recognized the weapon as a semi-automatic gun [which shoots] as fast as you can pull the trigger. Maybe someone converted [it] to an automatic [which] is equivalent to a machine gun. I’m not going to let him get the first shot off point blank.

Silva: Not just here in Norco but in Southern California, the reaction has been incredible with business owners who say, “We’re so glad you defended your business. We are so tired of this crime wave.”

Cope: Yeah, well, I don’t know that I did something someone else wouldn’t have done. But two things, we need more people to stand up. But more than that, I’ll probably get on the wrong side of some people here, but the politicians. There are people out there who are not the best of people. There are people who choose to be burglars, there are people who choose to be armed robbers. I had a guy one time who told me he was a burglar. He was in handcuffs and going to jail. Specifically, he was a burglar. I mean, I had him in handcuffs and he said that’s what I do. I wait till it gets dark and I go burglarize places. I mean he’s going to jail, and he told me he’s a burglar.

These people who continually get locked up. These people, the majority, are gonna go right back to what they used to do. The crime rate is escalating and they’re going to continue to escalate until they start putting these people away, the people that are doing bad things.

As far as my place, it wouldn’t have done any good to call the local sheriffs. They can’t get here that quick. I mean this whole thing, from the time I saw him coming around the side of the building to coming in that door, [it was] a half or three-quarters of second. And what happened in ten seconds, the actual thing, when he pointed a gun at me and you’re that close to me, I’m not waiting.

Silva: When you saw them in the parking lot, and the first tipoff was when they put their masks over their faces…

Cope: They didn’t park the way a normal person would park so that was a red flag. Then they parked on the side of the building where they’re basically out of sight. That was the second red flag. Then they got out of the vehicle, and I looked and saw they got gloves and weapons. That just solidifies the deal for me. I knew what was coming.

Silva: Right after the shooting, you had a heart attack. How are you doing?

Cope: As far as I know, I’m doing better. I’m doing a lot better than I was that night.

Silva: Was it traumatic?

Cope: I don’t know what caused it. Maybe I’m just old.

Silva: We’re all in shock and just amazed at how you reacted in such an intense moment with a man walking in with that weapon. I mean, what’s your advice to business owners who are just so fed up with this crime?

Cope: Okay, you can do what I did but what you really need to do is put some pressure on the politicians because they got no clue about what’s going on out in the real world. I can start naming names, but there’s a whole lot of [politicians] that are creating major problems for business owners. For the local law enforcement, they’re creating problems for them. I’m sure [cops] go out and risk their lives taking people into custody [only] to see them getting out with no bail. A lot of these people are career criminals. I’m not talking about the guy who goofed up one time and made one mistake. I’m talking about the career criminals. They need to be locked up.

Silva: So, if this was to happen again, you would not hesitate?

Cope: No.

Silva: So, your message to the bad guys?

Cope: This isn’t a good place to pick.

Silva: [Laughing] Yeah, that’s right. This isn’t a good place to pick. So, anybody thinking about it. Not a good idea.

A few months later, Craig Cope suffered a stroke and died.

To view the shooting, please click into the following link: Caught on camera: Convenience store owner shoots attempted robbery suspect - YouTube

: The suspects have yet to be tried for their alleged crimes. In our country, all suspects are legally innocent until proven guilty.