When two armed men burst into a gun store and immediately drew their pistols, a frightened employee put his hands in the air. That’s when all hell broke loose as the silver-haired owner turned his establishment into a scene from the old wild west.
Jimmy Groover owned the Dixie Gun and Pawn for several years and even endured having to rebuild the shop after a fire. The morning that turned his shop into the wild west started out uneventful for the senior citizen and his employee, but that all changed in an instant when two masked men burst in and started pointing guns.
Groover described what happened next. “Get down on the floor, get down on the floor or I’ll kill you,” one of the suspects yelled, the elderly store owner recalled. At that point, the suspect pointed a gun at the employee, and that’s when all hell broke loose as the armed robber began pulling a second pistol from his right pocket.
Groover calmly remembered the horrifying moment, saying, “Then they shot at me.” In the video of the event, you can see the armed robber with a pistol in his left hand. Just as he begins pulling a second pistol, Groover beats him to the punch, pulling his pistol from his hip holster and shooting the criminal, instantly killing him. The second suspect ran off on foot before the owner could put a bullet in him as well.
The smoke discharged from the multiple shots fired immediately filled the store. With the dead suspect lying on the floor, the scene looked like the wild west. However, this wasn’t a movie set, and it affected Groover profoundly. “I had no other choice. I had no other choice. I hate that it happened,” he told 11Alive. “I’ve been doing this for 30 years. Nothing like this has ever happened. I never wanted this to happen but I want to go home at night, too.”
The gun store owner’s friends commented on the incident, expressing agreement with Jimmy Groover’s sentiments. “It could have been him shot, you know. He was just protecting his merchandise and those around him,” Bill Bloedow said. “I hope it puts the fear in people going around trying to do this stuff, there is too much crime in this area.”
The store owner had to rebuild the place after a 2015 fire left it in ruins. Since then, store regulars say the gun and pawnshop has been burglarized several times. During this particular incident, there were two customers in the store at the time. Luckily, they were not hurt. “It’s just amazing to see someone try to come into a gun store to rob a gun store. I mean, that was a really un-thought-out plan,” customer Terrance Coner said.
Another friend of Groover’s also spoke to reporters. “He’s just trying to make a living. That’s all he’s doing, and these guys come in and try to rob you and take your money and your guns. You can’t have a business these days without people trying to take what you’ve got,” Victor Harris said.
These two suspects acted in broad daylight, and friends and family call it tragic for everyone. “They tell you they’re going to kill you. That’s what they told the man,” said a friend of the gun shop, who was at the scene. “Come in with two guns, tell you they’re going to kill you. He’s got grandbabies and family. You got to have some compassion. I’ve known this man all my life.”
Although the police said it was unlikely that Jimmy Groover would be charged because he acted in self-defense, words were hard to come by for the shook-up store owner after the shooting. “I hate it. I really do,” he repeated. “I hate it. I hate it bad.” Groover’s remorse proves that the elderly shop owner has compassion even for those who would do him harm.
No one comes out as a winner when criminals are hellbent on putting law-abiding citizens in harm’s way. It’s a terrible thing to take a life under any circumstance. Even trained law enforcement officers find themselves suffering after they had no choice but to pull the trigger and end a life. Jimmy Groover wasn’t trained to make split-second decisions, but by all accounts, he acted in the same way as any veteran officer in law enforcement.