An armed customer who shot and killed a masked robber and injured the suspect's brother inside a Bucks County pizza shop Tuesday night will not be charged despite having an expired permit to carry a concealed weapon, according to the Bucks County District Attorney.
Breaking news and the stories that matter to your neighborhood.
Investigators said the ordeal began around 9:50 p.m. inside Porfirio's Pizza and Pasta restaurant in a shopping center on the 900 block of Veteran Highway in Levittown.
Two brothers, later identified as Shawn Rose, 24, and Justin Rose, 22, entered the shop carrying realistic-looking airsoft guns, according to Bucks County District Attorney Matt Weintraub.
"They had the security feature, that orange tip, removed so that they looked and felt like real guns," said Weintraub.
A customer -- who had stopped in to pick up some food on his way home -- and the owner were inside the restaurant at the time, said police.
The two suspects, who were wearing dark clothing, gloves and bandannas over their faces, pointed their fake weapons at the customer as well as the shop owner, officials said. They then ordered the customer and owner to, "give us all your s***," according to investigators.
Shawn Rose allegedly pistol-whipped the customer in the forehead causing him to drop down to one knee. As Shawn Rose looked away for a moment, the customer pulled out his own .45 caliber handgun from his jacket and fired one shot, striking him in the torso, officials said.
Officials said the customer then fired two shots at Justin Rose, striking him in the throat and shoulder area. Justin Rose fell through the door of the store. The customer then aimed his weapon at the two brothers until police arrived.
Shawn Rose died from his injuries. Justin Rose was taken to St. Mary Medical Center and was then airlifted to Thomas Jefferson Hospital in Philadelphia where he was listed in critical but stable condition.
Investigators obtained surveillance video, which they said shows both the pistol-whipping and the shooting. They are not releasing it at this time however as the investigation continues.
The armed customer will not be charged.
"The shooting was a justifiable homicide," Weintraub said. "The shooter is not being charged in this incident."
Weintraub said the customer could have been charged however because he had an expired permit to carry a concealed weapon. They decided not to charge him "based on the totality of the circumstances."
"It was only months after his grace period for the renewal of that permit that ended," Weintraub said. "He legally could have renewed his permit at any time and I want to emphasize that he should have renewed his permit to carry that concealed weapon. He was the victim of a robbery however and a pistol-whipping and that factored heavily into our decision."
Weintraub did not identify the shooter but described him as a "lifelong, law-abiding citizen and a business owner who had the gun for his own protection."
"If he had possessed the gun out in the open he wouldn't have even needed a permit to carry at all," Weintraub said. "Most importantly he used that gun to save his own life and the life of the intended victim, the pizza shop owner."
During a press conference Wednesday afternoon, Weintraub addressed the question as to whether or not the armed customer was a hero.
"I'm not here to lionize or vilify anybody that was involved in this event," Weintraub said. "I don't want to create a cult figure out of this shooter or to set a precedent for vigilante justice or lawlessness. Was the shooter a hero? He was to the pizza man."
Weintraub also had a message for both future victims and perpetrators of crime.
"Please avoid violence if you can and get away safely," he said. "Please do so. Call the police. Please, if you carry a gun, have a valid permit. And as for the robbers? The lesson is, if you commit a robbery, sometimes the payoff is death."