A suspected armed robber was shot dead in a busy pharmacy in West Virginia last week just seconds after one of the store’s employees jokingly asked, “Are you here to rob me?”
Pharmacist Don Radcliff fatally shot 25-year-old Terry Gillenwater last Wednesday morning after he allegedly brandished a gun at workers at the busy Good Family Pharmacy in Pinch, West Virginia who had joked earlier about his masked appearance.
Despite the fatal shooting occurring in the morning, the shop was open and ready for business in the afternoon with the owner saying, “we cleaned it up pretty quickly and got back to work.”
Warning: This video contains graphic images
The incident that happened on the morning of 18 February saw the masked Terry Gillenwater enter the pharmacy before appearing to queue alongside other customers.
Radcliff and another shop employee were said to have joked about Gillenwater’s masked appearance, with Radcliff asking him jokingly, “Are you going to rob me?”
Gillenwater is then reported to have pulled out a gun in response, pointing it at the pharmacy’s workers.
Radcliff pulled out his own a gun from beneath the counter and fired three shots at Gillenwater, hitting him in the chest and abdomen, police said.
Radcliff and a colleague made attempts to save Gillenwater, with witnesses saying that Radcliff repeatedly said “I didn’t mean to do this” as he tried to stop Gillenwater’s bleeding.
Ambulances eventually took Gillenwater to a nearby hospital but he was later pronounced dead.
Following the incident, Kanawaha County Sheriff’s Office decided against prosecuting Radcliff saying that it shooting was an act of self-defence.
Kanawha County prosecutor Chuck Miller told West Virginia Metro News: “I must say it took a great deal of courage for Mr. Radcliff to pull his weapon and fire in the face of a weapon being pointed at him that was fully loaded with a round in the chamber.”
The latest incident comes as the number of firearm related deaths continues to rise in America.
Findings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that in 2013 over 33,000 people died as a result of gunfire.
According to the CDC, this is the first time ever that it is more likely for an American to die as a result of gunfire than from a car accident.
West Virginia itself has one of the highest rates of deaths due to injury by firearms, 14 people for every 100,000 being killed in gun related incidents.