On Friday, July 13, 71-year-old Samuel Williams was at the Palms Internet Café in Marion County, Fla., with his wife. Williams, a concealed carry permit holder, was armed with a .380 pistol.
When two 19-year-old masked robbers entered the business brandishing a pistol and a baseball bat, and carrying a large bag, Williams must have known that his decision to draw his pistol and engage the armed robbers would be potentially life-changing.
Video surveillance footage shows one suspect, later identified as Dwayne Henderson, pointing a pistol at customers and directing them. His less-armed partner in crime, Davis Dawkins, could be seen raising his baseball bat and striking downward on what was later determined to be a computer.
Williams displayed patience as he waited for an opportune moment to act. When Henderson turned his back to him, Williams sprang into action. Just as Williams started toward Henderson with the gun trained on him, Henderson wheeled around and saw Williams, who fired at Henderson sprinting for the front door. It appeared that the two armed criminals could not get out of that café fast enough, as they each fell to the floor at one point. It’s not clear from the video footage whether Henderson fired the pistol during the attempted robbery.
Eventually, both would-be robbers made it outside the business and ran away. Williams reportedly locked the door behind them, later telling a reporter that he was afraid his wife or another patron would be shot if he didn’t take action.
Henderson and Hawkins each showed up at the hospital with gunshot wounds and were subsequently apprehended by police. They were charged with robbery. No charges are being sought against Williams, who is being hailed as a hero.
Obviously, Williams’ actions are commendable. In true hero form, he risked his own life to protect his wife and others from what was clearly an imminent threat of death or great bodily injury. And his aim with that little .380 was true.
Do you think Williams acted appropriately? Would you have done anything differently?