An unidentified 70-year-old Vietnam Veteran fatally shot one attempted robber and seriously wounded another after he was held at gun point in Venice, Illinois on Thursday. Twenty three year old Perry Richardson and 19-year-old Billy Dickerson pulled up next to the veteran under the guise of asking for directions before pulling a firearm on the retired service member and demanding money. Fortunately, the veteran had a license to carry a concealed weapon and shot the attempted robbers: instantly killing one and wounding the other.
Authorities and the veteran’s lawyer agree that the veteran acted in self defense.
“He feared for his own life,” Madison County (Illinois) State’s Attorney Tom Gibbons told KDSK-TV. “He feared for the life of his friend and just took decisive action in that moment.”
Dickerson died instantly after being struck in the head by one the veteran’s bullets. Richardson was also struck but survived. He was taken to a local hospital to be treated for his wounds. Richardson has been charged with first-degree murder in connection with Dickerson’s death and will be taken to jail without bond once he is released from the hospital.
“If you’re engaged in a forceable felony and someone — no matter who — dies during the course of your crime, you are accountable for murder” Gibbons told KDSK-TV.
Authorities believe Richardson and Dickerson are responsible for several unsolved armed robberies in both Illinois and Missouri. Gibbons states that the veteran’s actions were justified based on the circumstance of the robbery and the history of the repeat offenders.
“The courts have consistently recognized the right of a law-abiding citizen to carry a concealed weapon for the purpose of self-defense,” Gibbons said in a statement to KTVI. “This incident yesterday morning is the exact situation where the necessity for this right becomes crystal clear.”
The veteran involved in the incident is facing no charges for his actions.