(OKLAHOMA CITY) — Not one, but two men ran to their respective cars to grab their guns when a shooter opened fire at an Oklahoma City restaurant Thursday.
Police Capt. Bo Matthews said Friday that both of those men, who have not been publicly identified, shot suspect Alexander C. Tilghman on Thursday. Tilghman died as a result of those gunshots.
Before being killed by the two civilians, Tilghman fired shots into Louie’s Grill & Bar near Lake Hefner on Thursday. He shot three people, all of whom are expected to survive, Matthews said.
Immediately after the shooting, Matthews told the media that a single civilian shot the suspect, but upon further investigation, it was determined that two men both shot the suspect. The two men who shot Tilghman “were not carrying their firearms on them, they [their firearms] were in their vehicles,” Matthews said today.
When asked what he would call the two men, Matthew described them as “two people that stopped a very tragic situation from going any further.”
During the news conference today, Matthews wouldn’t directly call them “heroes” but said that it was “a great terminology” for the media to use.
“You can say they’re heroes, which is a very good thing to say,” Matthews said.
The two men did not know one another and had arrived at the restaurant separately, he said.
Matthews said that because the men were not carrying their weapons on them, conceal carry laws would not be applicable in the case. He did not disclose any information about whether or not they had such licenses, and said that it would be up to the district attorney to decide if they face any charges for their actions, but hinted that he does not expect a case to be brought against them.
“These guys were protecting somebody else’s life. I would think more than likely they would not be filed on,” Matthews said.
Tilghman, 28, was reportedly wearing shooting glasses and earmuffs commonly seen at gun ranges, Matthews said.
“It looks like his mind was made up that he was going to [use] his firearm when he got there,” Matthews said.
Matthews said the police “have no records of anybody making any other reports” on Tilghman in their system, though he did have a record of a 2003 arrest for domestic assault and battery from when he was 13 years old.
Matthews said that police have not found any record of Tilghman having mental health issues, though said that if someone is to commit “an act like this, you’d have to assume that he probably had a little bit of mental illness.”
Tilghman fired “from the outside of the door into the restaurant,” Matthews said, adding “to me, it looks like a random event.”
“It could have been really tragic. Again, we’re really blessed that only three people were shot and didn’t lose their lives,” Matthews said of the victims.
The National Rifle Association tweeted about the shooting on Thursday, touting it as an example of the idea that “the best way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” an idea disputed by experts.
The gun rights group also used their tweet to send a message to Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, who vetoed a bill that would have eliminated the requirement for people to have completed a firearms training course in order to carry guns in public. The NRA supported the proposed bill, but the Republican governor, who has supported concealed carry and open carry laws in the past, vetoed it.
“I believe the firearms laws we currently have in place are effective, appropriate and minimal, and serve to reassure our citizens that people who are carrying handguns in this state are qualified to do so,” she said in a statement explaining her veto.
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