WESLEY CHAPEL, Fla. (WFLA) – An armed robbery suspect was airlifted to a hospital after deputies say the suspect was shot by a customer during a robbery attempt in Florida.
Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco said that around 6:30 a.m. on Thursday, a customer was getting his morning cup of coffee at the Marathon gas station in Wesley Chapel.
The customer was at the counter with the clerk when Christopher Lilly, 31, entered the store wearing a mask and pointed a gun at the clerk and customer and demanded money. Lilly made the pair go into a cooler.
“They made a decision, ‘We’re going to fight’,” said Nocco about the customer and clerk.
The customer had his gun pointed at Lilly as the customer and the clerk walked out of the cooler. However, Lilly pointed his gun at the pair.
Lilly and the pair wrestled and Lilly wound up on the ground, the gun was no longer in his hand. Lilly reached for his gun and the customer shot him in the thigh to prevent him from grabbing the gun.
“This is two citizens who were in fear for their lives,” said Nocco, who added that the pair made the conscious decision, “I’d rather fight for my life than be a victim.”
A PCSO deputy arrived at the store and subdued Lilly at the front door, with the help of citizens.
PCSO spokesperson Kevin Doll said that the customer who shot Lilly removed the bullets from the handgun that Lilly was using when he tried to rob the store. Doll said that the customer who shot Lilly knows Lilly. The customer also shops at the convenience store every day and has been a customer at the store for 15 years. The customer’s identity will be released later on Thursday. Doll said that detectives are interviewing the customer and witnesses.