An armed passerby has shot dead a gunman who opened fire on a packed Oklahoma restaurant in a terrifying shooting which left a woman and two children injured.
The shooter, a white male who was wearing eye glasses and ear protection at the time, was confronted by a person standing outside the restaurant as he tried to flee and shot dead.
He was the only person killed in the shooting, which left four in hospital, and Police Captain Bo Matthews told reporters the armed civilian was ‘a blessing’.
Police have said today they have no reason to believe this is a terrorist type of incident’, and that the motive was unclear.
The man, who has not been identified, began shooting at random inside Louie’s Grill and Bar about 6.30pm.
He struck mother-of-two Natalie Will and her 12-year-old daughter Niah as they were walking inside for the woman’s eldest daughter Shayla’s 14th birthday celebrations. Another 14-year-old girl named Alex, Shayla’s best friend, was also shot.
Natalie was shot in the arm, and Niah was shot in her tailbone, but the bullet traveled to her stomach.
Natalie’s sister Leslie said on Facebook both were in a stable condition, and Niah was taken into surgery, which ‘went well’.
‘Natalie was shot in the arm and is going to be fine. My niece suffered a more severe gunshot wound to her hip near the tail bone and bullet tracked into her stomach,’ she wrote.
‘She had surgery and it went well she is doing well. I just can’t wrap my head around this evil in our world.
‘My sister is one of the best mothers and sweetest people I’ve ever known. Her daughters are amazing kids.
It’s heart wrenching to know they had to deal that level of fear. Especially while out celebrating my other nieces birthday.’
Natalie and Niah are believed to be stable, but Alex’s condition is unknown – a woman believed to be Niah and Shayla’s stepmother said on Facebook Niah had part of her colon removed, and Alex will have surgery tomorrow.
Her father told KFOR the 14-year-old had also been at the restaurant to celebrate Shayla’s birthday.
Niah’s father, Jabari Giles, said his daughter had no long term or major damage from the bullet.
He told Facebook friends the armed bystander who took down the shooter was his ‘hero’.
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‘To the good Samaritan that killed that monster I want to meet you and shake your hand and tell you face to face thank you for saving my daughter’s and everyone else in that restaurants life. You are my hero sir,’ he wrote.
The shooter had shot at least two people before he was taken down with a handgun – both who are in surgery for their injuries but are expected to survive.
The mother of the woman told KOCO she has ‘no idea’ how her daughter and granddaughter are.
‘I had turned my ringer off, and she had called,’ she said.
‘I called back and our eldest granddaughter answered the phone… they were taking our daughter [for surgery] she got shot in the arm. Our granddaughter got shot in the stomach and her hip.
‘They were going to Louie’s for a birthday dinner. They were walking into the restaurant and the guy just started shooting and they were the ones who got shot.’
A man fell and broke his arm during the incident and has also been taken to hospital.
A fourth victim was identified about two hours after the shooting, who suffered a minor injury. It is not known if he was shot.
Matthews says he believes the three in hospital will survive the ordeal.
‘It’s a blessing this was stopped [when it was]. Who knew when this guy was going to stop shooting people,’ Matthews told KOCO.
On social media, the civilian was praise for his actions, and many opposed to limits on second amendment rights touted his involvement as proof gun control doesn’t work.
‘A “good guy with a gun” prevented a potential mass shooting near Lake Hefner,’ one man wrote.
‘If Gun Control activists had their way, the good guy wouldn’t have a gun and there would be mass casualties.’
Many had quite the opposite view, and pointed out of the “bad guy” did not have a gun in the first place, nobody would have been shot at all.
‘Ha! I think you mean “if gun control activists had their way, the BAD guy wouldn’t have a gun…” No one cares if a good guy has a gun,’ a woman posted on Twitter.
‘Good guy should never have to use his gun for a situation like this.’
Police told followers on Twitter while there was no longer an active threat, but advised locals to continue avoiding the area.
Every Oklahoma City police officer who was not at an urgent situation was called over the police scanner to come immediately to Louie’s after the call of a shooter came through.
Matthews said police have ‘100 witnesses’ and would be looking through CCTV footage in trying to work out what has happened.
Officers on scene have separated witnesses and are taking statements from all of them, and three canine units have arrived on the scene.
Images taken from a KOCO helicopter showed police and dogs closely inspecting one particular car.
The shooter, who was reportedly wearing ear protection and eye glasses, has not been identified.
At this stage, police believe the shooting was random, and he had no link to the restaurant or anyone inside.