It had already been a long and emotional day for the Virginia Beach man when he walked into a 7-Eleven store to buy a Big Gulp.
He’d just been involved in a heated argument with his stepfather, and police had been called to the house. After talking to officers, it took him more than an hour to walk back to his conversion van, which was parked near his work.
The vehicle wasn’t working at the time, but he’d been living in it for a few weeks. Once he got there, he realized his canteen was empty.
“I said, ‘Well, it looks like you’re going to 7-Eleven.’”
When he arrived, the 37-year-old headed to the fountain drink machine, paying little attention to the din of chatter inside the South Newtown Road store. After pouring his favorite strawberry-melon flavored iced tea into a cup, he walked toward the cash register on the other side of the counter.
“I’m sipping on my Big Gulp, and this red beam cuts into my drink,” said the man, who agreed to tell The Virginian-Pilot what happened July 25 on the condition he not be identified.
While one robber stuffed his pockets with money, the other leaned over the counter with his gun fixed on the store clerk....
While the robbers focused on the cash and the clerk, the man touched the 9 mm handgun hidden in a holster under his T-shirt with his pinkie. No one noticed. He knew he had about 10 rounds in the clip....
“I’m thinking about all of that and at the same time thinking, you’re supposed to have the right to bear arms, the right to protect yourself, the right to protect others if need be,” he said.
“I’m like 'Man, you say you believe in the Second Amendment. You say you believe in America. You know God’s got you.'”
Still holding his drink in one hand, he fired first at the robber behind the counter. He aimed for his shoulder, he said, but ended up hitting him in the neck.
“He hollered, and I think that distracted (the other gunman) because he wasn’t thinking that was going to happen," the man said. "Nobody thought that was going to happen. He’s probably emotional and distraught because he was in control up to that point.”
The robber behind the counter fell. The one who’d had his gun pointed at the clerk turned to see where the shot had come from. With that weapon now turned in his direction, the man fired two more shots. Both hit the second robber in his torso, killing him.