Two men who entered an Ocala, Florida Internet Café last Friday and attempted to rob patrons at gunpoint wound up running for their lives after a 71-year-old man opened fire on them with his pistol.
Today, the State Attorney’s Office said the Internet Café patron, Samuel Williams, who foiled the armed robbery and shot both assailants, is unikely to face any charges.
Video of the two robbers, one armed with a pistol, scurrying back out the door, one tumbling after being shot, has gone viral. In Florida, citizens are permitted to defend themselves, family members and others under a law know as Stand your Ground.
“Based on what I have seen and what I know at this time, I don’t anticipate filing any charges,” said Bill Gladson of the State Attorney’s Office.
Gladson said he has reviewed the security surveillance video from the café. While he still awaits final reports from the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, he said the shooting appeared justified, according to an Ocala.com report.
Williams has a concealed weapons permit, according to the Sheriff’s Office. Under Florida law, a person is allowed to use deadly force if he or she fears death or serious injury to themselves or others. As long as the person isn’t committing a crime and is in a place where he or she has a right to be, they are considered to be acting within the law.
Williams, from the Ocala area, could not be reached for comment on Monday, however one of 30 customers present at the cafe expressed gratitude for his bravery.
“I think he is wonderful. If he wouldn’t have been there, there could have been some innocent people shot,” said Mary Beach.
Beach was facing away from the door when the armed robbers entered and one trained his weapon on several patrons as the other swung a baseball bat. She said she didn’t realize what was happening until she heard shots.
“I heard pop, pop; then pop, pop, pop, all at once,” she said. “In the confusion I never really got to see his (Williams) face.”
Surveillance video of the incident was released on Monday by the Sheriff’s Office. It shows two masked men entering the Palms Internet Cafe, 8444 SW State Road 200, just before 10 p.m. Friday. One of the men had a gun.