Would-be robber flees after businessman draws handgun
By AUSTIN L. MILLER
Published: Friday, May 16, 2008 at 11:38 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, May 16, 2008 at 6:42 p.m.
AUSTIN L. MILLER/STAR-BANNER Leslie Morris, one of the owners of Looking Good Beauty Salon.
OCALA - On Thursday night, a would-be robber thought he had an easy target and showed his pistol. What he didn't know was that the intended target, businessman Leslie Morris, had a gun, too.
Morris pulled his weapon first and the robber ran away. Now Ocala police are looking for him.
According to an Ocala police report, Morris, 43, told a detective that as he exited his store - Looking Good Beauty Salon, at 1971 W. Silver Springs Blvd. - he saw a man with a shirt covering his face approaching him quickly.
Sensing that he might be robbed, Morris put his hand on his concealed weapon, a Cal-Tech 9 mm handgun, which was hidden in the small of his back.
Morris said the would-be robber lifted up his shirt and put his hand on a silver revolver. The man said, "Hey Dawg," which prompted Morris to retrieve his weapon and point it at the startled robber. Morris then told him to drop the weapon.
"He was within a second or two to be in the morgue," Morris said in an interview with the Star-Banner.
Morris said he told the guy to get down. At the same time, Morris said, he looked behind him and saw another man not far behind him. Not knowing if the second man was involved, Morris said he had his eyes on both men and the man who had the weapon ran away.
The report noted that the gunman ran north toward Northwest Second Street.
After the incident, Morris went to the nearby Police Department district office in the 2400 block of West Silver Springs Boulevard and reported it to a detective. Officers searched unsuccessfully for the other man.
Morris, who authorities said has a permit to carry a concealed weapon, described the gunman as a tall, skinny, black man who at the time of the attempted robbery was wearing dark pants and used a brown shirt to cover his face.
"I'm encouraging business owners to bear arms to protect yourself," Morris said. "I was prepared."
Morris, a former member of the U.S. Air Force, said: "I guarantee you that he will think twice about doing that again."
Austin L. Miller can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org