Oklahoma City, OK – When an active shooter opened fire in a crowded Oklahoma City restaurant, two heroes ran to their cars to grab their guns and take out the shooter.
The heroes would have been prohibited from bringing their guns into the restaurant, due to the restaurant's sign indicating that it was a gun free zone.
UPDATE: We have been advised that Louie's says that the small text actually says that open carry is prohibited.
This incident has opened the question if sign actually made the situation worse. Feel free to share this story on social media to bring attention to this issue.
The incident began just before 6:30 p.m., when 28-year-old Alexander Tilghman burst into the Louie’s On The Lake restaurant armed with a handgun, USA Today reported.
Tilghman, who was licensed as an armed security guard, was wearing eye and ear protection as he randomly fired upon restaurant patrons from the doorway.
One round grazed Natalie Will, 39, as she was walking in front of the business, KFOR reported.
Will’s 12-year-old daughter, Syniah Giles, was hit near her tailbone, and underwent surgery at a local hospital, family members said.
Alex Speegle was shot twice, her aunt, Leah Geurin told KFOR.
One bullet shattered her clavicle, and a second entered her right arm, Geurin said.
As the attack unfolded, Juan Carlos Nazario, 35, and Bryan Wittle, 39, rushed out of the restaurant to retrieve guns from their vehicles.
The men then opened fire on Tilghman, who was killed in the exchange.
Blue Lives Matter has confirmed that Louie's has a sign on their door prohibiting firearms (with small text prohibiting open carry.) We have not been able to definitely confirm that this is the reason the heroes had to run to to their vehicles to get their weapons, or if they left their weapons behind due to a personal choice.
Oklahoma City Police Captain Bo Mathews said that he believed the shooting would have continued if Nazario and Wittle hadn’t intervened.
“It could have really been bad,” Capt. Mathews told USA Today.
Wittle said that he and Nazario simply reacted like they felt anyone else would.
“I just did what needed to be done to stop the threat,” Wittle explained. "Nothing special. A lot of people would have done the same given the situation."
The shooting victims were expected to survive their injuries, but Speegle and Giles still have a long road to recovery.
The attack left Speegle with nerve damage, which surgeons hope to repair so she will be able to regain use of her right hand, Geurin explained.
The bullet that struck Giles ended up in her stomach, and doctors expect her recovery will take months, KOCO reported.
Investigators said they had not ascertained what Tilghman’s motive may have been, and believed the incident was a “random shooting,” USA Today reported.
They were also investigating a plethora of concerning videos and social media postings Tilghman made in the months prior to the attack, according to the Star-Telegram.
Over the course of two days, the gunman published 25 entries to his YouTube channel, and discussed his encounters with “demonic birds.” He also claimed to have been made fun of by parrots, ducks, locusts, and squirrels, the Star-Telegram reported.
In January, Tilghman was accused of having posted hundreds of fliers around the city, warning people about “demons in cloned transsexual bodies,” Tulsa World reported.
During an interview with The Gayly, Tilghman explained that he was attempting to find “real people.”
“I am trying to find real people out there,” he said. “Everywhere I go, there is nothing but fake people…Getting the truth out is all that matters.”
"[I] have given up on life and my only hope is if a real person reaches out to me, been alone for too long, going through hardcore satanic attack, i hear snapping on the walls, i hear these noises EVERYWHERE i go, i cant take it anymore, its the worst torture ever!!! someone please help me!!!!" he posted in a comment on one of his YouTube videos in April, according to NewsOk.
The FBI is assisting the Oklahoma City Police Department with the ongoing investigation, KOCO reported.
Would you carry a concealed weapon in a gun-free restaurant? We'd like to hear from you. Please let us know in the comments.