Robbery victim fights back

Tuesday, January 17th 2006, 3:28 pm
By: News On 6

A Tulsa robbery victim fights back. The man says when he was forced to decide whether to kill or be killed, he pulled the trigger.

He talks about that decision exclusively to News on 6 crime reporter Lori Fullbright.

Gene and his wife were inside a flea market on North Lewis Saturday when two people walked inside and began asking about prices. Gene turned away for a moment, and then was body-slammed to the ground. "I was on my side and rolled over to my back and this young man was in my face saying give me all the money, I'm going to kill you and on and on and all I could think was I’m about to die and so is my wife."

In that instant, instinct and military training took over and Gene pulled his gun from his waistband and started shooting. Several of his shots missed the robber and landed in the wall, but then, he noticed some blood drops. He thought he'd nicked the robber, it wasn't until later, he learned, the robber died. “It's a horrible thing that this young man lost his life. And, we say young man, but he was 6-feet-2 and was 200 pounds of young man muscle. He made a decision that ultimately cost him dearly. I'm sorry I had to hurt him, but I don't regret it."

Gene says he didn't want to end up like the woman who was recently beaten to death after being robbed of her laundry money or the man who was shot and killed because he didn't have as much money as the robber wanted.

The flea market has been robbed before. The owner of the store had been robbed and beaten just a few months earlier. The previous owner had been robbed and pistol-whipped. Not even adding security cameras was a deterrent.

Gene doesn't believe this incident will deter other teenage robbers very long, and he's thankful for a law that allowed him to protect his own life and that of his wife.

Gene has had a permit to carry a concealed weapon since a state law was enacted several years ago, Tulsa Police do not expect him to be charged with a crime.

Police cannot find evidence the robbery suspect had a gun. However, they say Gene was still within Oklahoma's “Make My Day” law, because there were two suspects and Gene had good reason to fear for his life.