Norco liquor-store owner, 80, who gained viral fame for blasting armed robber has died

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Wednesday, December 28, 2022
Norco store owner who gained fame for blasting armed robber has died
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Craig Cope, an 80-year-old liquor store owner in Norco, went viral after he was seen on video blasting a robber who was armed with a rifle.

NORCO, Calif. (KABC) -- An 80-year-old Norco liquor store owner who went viral earlier this year after using his shotgun to blast an armed robber has died.

Craig Cope was seen on video on July 31 firing one shot at an armed suspect who burst into the store armed with a rifle. The suspect was one of four men who drove up intending to rob the store.

But after Cope blasted him with the shotgun, the suspect ran out and could be heard on video screaming "He shot my arm off! He shot my arm off!"

READ MORE | Armed robber flees in panic when Norco liquor store owner blasts shotgun: 'He shot my arm off!'

Media coverage and viral video of the surveillance footage made Cope a local celebrity for a time. People flocked to the store to congratulate him and take pictures, even buying merchandise such as a T-shirt sporting the slogan "Don't Mess with Norco, We'll shoot your arm off."

Cope suffered a heart attack after the robbery but recovered and went back to work. Then in October he suffered a stroke.

Tuesday morning, the store's Facebook page announced he had died.

"We Lost our Craig this Morning. I'm sorry I am without words right now but I promised to not leave you in the dark. There will be a memorial here at the store so when I come up with a date I will be sure to let you know."

Cope owned and operated the store since 1976, according to the GoFundMe established to help his family.

After the shooting all four suspects were taken into custody after they were located at a hospital, where the suspect who had been shot was being treated. Deputies also recovered the vehicle, which was stolen out of Las Vegas, as well as numerous firearms and other evidence.