Good: Waffle House customer shoots and kills armed robber
Deputies: Waffle House customer shoots and kills armed robber | GoUpstate.com
A Roebuck man - less than two hours into his 19th birthday - entered the Waffle House on Chesnee Highway with a gun and attempted to rob the restaurant before a customer fired his weapon, killing the teen, authorities said Saturday.
Spartanburg County sheriff's deputies responded to the Waffle House at 2230 Chesnee Highway just before 1:15 a.m. Saturday. Two masked men had entered the restaurant with the intention of robbing it, and at least one of them was armed, authorities said.
A customer, who is a concealed weapons permit holder, thwarted the robbery by pulling his gun and attempting to hold the men until deputies arrived. When one of the men pointed his gun at the customer, the patron fired, killing the teenager.
The teenager, later identified as Dante Lamont Williams, of 827 S. Edisto River Drive, Roebuck, was pronounced dead at the scene, according to a written statement from Coroner Rusty Clevenger. Williams had been shot in the head and chest.
Sheriff Chuck Wright said he does not plan to charge the customer, who he says is “very upset” about the shooting.
During a news conference Saturday night, Wright said even after the masked men entered the restaurant, the concealed weapons holder waited until the robbers began ordering customers to the floor and employees into the back - while waving a gun - to act. After pulling his .45-caliber Glock, the customer ordered the men to stay put until deputies arrived. Only after Williams pointed his Hi-Point 9mm at the man, did the customer fire, Wright said.
“The way you get shot by a concealed weapons permit holder is you point a gun at him,” the sheriff said.
After struggling with the customer, the other suspect fled the restaurant and has not yet been identified. One shot was fired by the customer during that confrontation, but only after the masked man tried to grab the gun, the sheriff said. The robber never presented a weapon, but Wright said deputies are considering him armed and dangerous until he is found. Deputies don't think the second robber was injured, but aren't sure.
The sheriff's office is asking anyone with information about the identity or location of the second suspect to call CrimeStoppers at 1.888.CRIME.SC.
No customers or employees were injured. A dozen people were in the restaurant at the time.
Wright did not release the name of the customer, saying with one suspect still on the loose, he did not want to put the man in danger. The sheriff said he would release the name of the man, who is local and in his mid 20s, in a week.
Wright said he felt bad for Williams' family, saying that the young man does not have a criminal record.
“This kid wasn't a troublemaker,” the sheriff said.
The Waffle House where the shooting occurred was busy with customers Saturday afternoon. A manager referred questions to a corporate spokesman, who couldn't immediately be reached for comment.
In October, in the wake of an attempted rape at a popular park in Spartanburg County, Wright implored female residents to obtain concealed weapons permits, saying that residents need to fight back. The comments made national news and precipitated a spike in concealed weapons classes.
In the months since then, several instances of residents shooting or attempting to shoot aggressors have occurred, including a homeowner who shot a man staying inside a vacant Converse Heights home.
Wright described Saturday's shooting as “another example of how a (concealed weapons permit) may save your life.”