Every morning at a 7-Eleven 10 miles south of Seattle, Washington, a 60-year-old customer buys coffee and then sits around to chat with the store clerks. But on Sunday morning, there was a terrifying change in the routine.
He ended his morning killing a man.
At around 5:30 a.m., another customer arrived. This man was in his 40s, wore a mask, and was carrying a hatchet, the same kind one would use to split wood.
Whoever he was, he didn’t say a single word, KIRO reported.
The attacker first went to the customer’s usual spot by the register and wielded his hatchet at him, NBC News reported. It’s not clear if he was injured in the attack.
Then, for some reason not specified in media reports, the suspect gave up on the customer and turned his attention to the 7-Eleven clerk, Kuldeep Singh, who was standing behind the counter.
Masked man with a hatchet walked into 7-Eleven in Boulevard Park area, started swinging, fatally shot by customer pic.twitter.com/qQi7Zgo458— Bettina Hansen (@bettinahansen) March 13, 2016
The suspect slashed the clerk’s stomach with the hatchet, but luckily, the wound was minor.
Also lucky for the clerk and his customer, the coffee-drinking regular, a morning mainstay of this 7-Eleven in the town of Burien, was armed with a pistol.
According to accounts from the sheriff’s department, the man pulled out his handgun, aimed, and fired it at the hatchet-wielding attacker within seconds, the Seattle Times added.
King County Sheriff’s Sgt. Cindi West said that the customer likely saved Singh’s life. The attacker was pronounced dead at the 7-Eleven.
“This could have been disastrous. Had this [customer] not shot, who knows what would’ve happened. We might have a dead clerk right now and instead we have a dead bad guy.”
The coffee-drinking customer is a licensed concealed gun carrier. After he shot and killed the unidentified attacker, he called police. They arrived in short order at around 5:45 a.m. and attempted to revive the stranger, but were unsuccessful.
Accounts from Singh and his regular both indicate that the suspect didn’t say a word before the attack. West said that he didn’t ask for money or give any other hints as to a motive, which may remain a mystery.
“What everybody says is that he didn’t say anything. He just walked in the store, had the hatchet, and started attacking people.”
Singh, 58, said later that the hatchet sliced him “two three times in here,” and indicated his stomach. The 7-Eleven clerk said he was certain that the hatchet-wielding attacker was going to kill him.
Man w/ hatchet walks into 7-Eleven in Blvd Park, starts swinging @ customers & clerk. Customer shoots suspect dead pic.twitter.com/Lkuydgus8g— KIRO 7 Jussero (@JJusseroKIRO7) March 13, 2016
The regular who saved the day is very shaken by the experience, and wasn’t identified and didn’t speak to reporters. The attack will be investigated and sent to a prosecutor, who’ll determine whether the man should face criminal charges for killing the intruder. West said that the investigation so far has failed to turn up any evidence that he did anything wrong.
“We do not see any wrongdoing on the part of the customer. In fact, he probably saved lives in this case,” said West. “He may have prevented the clerk from being killed or seriously injured.”
In fact, local sheriff’s deputies are calling him a hero. A friend the 7-Eleven clerk, who works at another convenience store down the street, has vouched for the hero customer as well, calling him a “good guy.” The clerk also had nice words to say about the man who saved his life, calling him a “very nice” guy as well.
The only thing that is currently known about the attacker is that he appeared to be in his 40s. His name, his motives, his address, ethnicity, or family are unknown. Right now, the Medical Examiner’s Office is working on indentifying him and establishing a cause of death.
[Photo by TungCheung/Shutterstock]