70-Year-Old Vietnam Vet Shoots Two Armed Robbers

'This is an example of a law-abiding citizen protecting himself, exercising his right to self-defense'

Glock 42 / AP
February 6, 2017

A 70-year-old Vietnam veteran defended himself with his legally concealed firearm against a pair of much younger armed robbers on Thursday near St. Louis, Mo.

As the veteran was dropping off a friend, a 19-year-old male and a 23-year-old male pulled up next to him in a car, asked for directions, and then pulled out a gun. The 70-year-old veteran pulled out his own gun and shot at both of the men as they attempted to rob him. The 19-year-old suspect was killed and the 23-year-old was injured during the encounter.

Tom Gibbons, the state attorney for Madison County, Ill., told KSDK the shooting was justified.

"He feared for his own life," Gibbons told the NBC affiliate. "He feared for the life of his friend and just took decisive action in that moment."

Gibbons credited the veteran with potentially ending a crime spree, because of the likelihood the two suspects were involved in other violent crimes in Missouri and Illinois.

"We're able to probably, I believe, able to solve possibly dozens of other armed robberies in the area," he told the news station. "This is an example of a law-abiding citizen protecting himself, exercising his right to self-defense."

The veteran, who was evidently not injured in the encounter, will not face charges. The 23-year-old attacker will be charged with the murder of his accomplice for his involvement in the crime once he is released from the hospital.

"If you're engaged in a forcible felony and someone—no matter who—dies during the course of your crime, you are accountable for murder," Gibbons said.

The 23-year-old will be held without bond once he is out of the hospital. He could face 20-60 years in prison if convicted.