'You're welcome,' says good Samaritan who turned gun on restaurant shooter
OKLAHOMA CITY - Not one, but two men ran to their respective cars to grab their guns when a shooter opened fire at an Oklahoma City restaurant Thursday.
Police Capt. Bo Matthews said today that both of those men shot suspect Alexander C. Tilghman on Thursday. Tilghman died as a result of those gunshots.
The two civilians have been identified by police as Juan Carlos Nazario, 35, and Bryan Whittle, 39.
"You are welcome," Nazario said to local ABC affiliate KOCO after the shooting. "Just did what I was trained to do to neutralize the situation."
Whittle’s family told ABC News that he served in Afghanistan and has been in the National Guard for almost 20 years.
Before being killed by the two civilians, Tilghman fired shots into Louie's Grill & Bar near Lake Hefner on Thursday. He shot three people, all of whom are expected to survive, Matthews said.
Immediately after the shooting, Matthews told the media that a single civilian shot the suspect, but upon further investigation, it was determined that two men both shot the suspect. The two men who shot Tilghman "were not carrying their firearms on them, they [their firearms] were in their vehicles," Matthews said today.
When asked what he would call Nazario and Whittle, Matthew described them as "two people that stopped a very tragic situation from going any further."
During the news conference today, Matthews wouldn't directly call them "heroes" but said that it was "a great terminology" for the media to use.
"You can say they're heroes, which is a very good thing to say," Matthews said.
Nazario and Whittle did not know one another and had arrived at the restaurant separately, he said.
Matthews said that because the men were not carrying their weapons on them, conceal carry laws would not be applicable in the case. He did not disclose any information about whether or not they had such licenses, and said that it would be up to the district attorney to decide if they face any charges for their actions, but hinted that he does not expect a case to be brought against them.
"These guys were protecting somebody else's life. I would think more than likely they would not be filed on," Matthews said.
Tilghman, 28, was reportedly wearing shooting glasses and earmuffs commonly seen at gun ranges, Matthews said.
"It looks like his mind was made up that he was going to [use] his firearm when he got there," Matthews said.
Matthews said the police "have no records of anybody making any other reports" on Tilghman in their system, though he did have a record of a 2003 arrest for domestic assault and battery from when he was 13 years old.
Matthews said that police have not found any record of Tilghman having mental health issues, though said that if someone is to commit "an act like this, you'd have to assume that he probably had a little bit of mental illness."
Tilghman fired "from the outside of the door into the restaurant," Matthews said, adding "to me, it looks like a random event."
"It could have been really tragic. Again, we're really blessed that only three people were shot and didn't lose their lives," Matthews said of the victims.
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