Bay Point, CA – A U.S. Air Force veteran fatally shot an armed robber who attacked him as he was working as a cashier at a convenience store late Sunday night (video below).
Military veteran Mark Kasprowicz, 56, was working behind the counter of Kam’s Market when two masked suspects burst through the door at about 11 p.m., KNTV reported.
One of the armed robbers headed to the back of the business and held an employee at gunpoint.
The second gunman made his way behind the counter and pointed a semi-automatic handgun at Kasprowicz, who had the cash drawer open, security footage showed.
“At first I thought it was a joke,” the military veteran later told KNTV. “Two seconds later, I realized it was real. He pushed me to the ground, to my knees and everything.”
The attacker bashed Kasprowicz in the head with the gun, then started grabbing cash out of the register, the video showed.
Kasprowicz, who was bleeding from a gash to the head, remained on the ground but repositioned himself within reach of a drawer located on the right-hand side of the cash register.
While the armed robber was focused on stuffing cash into a small trash bin, the military veteran suddenly yanked the drawer open and grabbed the gun hidden inside, the video showed.
The gunman spotted the movement and immediately jumped on Kasprowicz.
As they struggled over the weapon, the suspect’s gun discharged, KNTV reported.
The masked intruder started to run away, at which point Kasprowicz opened fire.
“I just looked around, and he was running, and just by instinct, I let go a shot,” the military veteran later told KNTV. “I managed to squeeze off one round, and apparently after the fact I found out that I actually hit him.”
Both suspects ran out of the store and into the parking lot, where the gunman who attacked Kasprowicz collapsed and died.
His accomplice managed to escape.
The military veteran was transported to a local hospital, where doctors closed the injury on his head using 12 staples, KNTV reported.
“My adrenaline is still pumped up a little, but other than that, I’m not too bad,” he said.
The Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office said that Kasprowicz shot his attacker in self-defense.
Kasprowicz said that his military experience and two decades of private security work likely helped save his life.
“Having a big handgun pointed at you, there’s only one thing that you worry about – your own life,” he told KNTV.
“Sure, he is deceased now, but then again I’m lucky to be alive. I am lucky my co-worker is alive,” he added to KABC.
Kasprowicz also didn’t realize the severity of what occurred until he watched the security footage.
“I was certainly in shock when I saw the video,” the veteran told KABC. “I didn’t know how serious it was until I actually saw it.”
Kamal Sandhu, who owns the store, said that the armed attacker left Kasprowicz with no choice but to protect himself, The Mercury News reported.
“It was kind of a last-chance thing, like a him-or-me thing,” Sandhu explained. “I think the [suspect] got scared and he yelled to the other guy, ‘He’s got a gun.’ When they tried to run, [Kasprowicz] shot. He didn’t miss.”
Kasprowicz said that he plans to return to work as quickly as possible, KABC reported.
You can watch security footage of the military veteran’s encounter with the armed robber in the video below: