A person described by police as a "private citizen" took matters into his own hands Monday, shooting to death a pair of masked robbery suspects armed with guns.
Emergency dispatchers reported receiving multiple 911 calls around 2 p.m. Monday from the area of North 9th and Exeter streets, where the intersection meets Kutztown Road, in Reading.
"I heard two boom booms," said Elvis West. "It sounded like gunshots."
Officers converged on the area and quickly established a crime scene outside Krick's Korner, a convenience store at the busy intersection.
"I knew somebody was hurt bad when I saw the cloth and rope around. I knew somebody had been shot," said West.
Two men, both armed with guns and wearing masks, had just left the store with stolen cigarettes and lottery tickets when they were confronted by the "concerned citizen," telling both suspects that he was going to call police and advising them to stay where they were, said Berks County District Attorney John Adams.
A brief scuffle ensued, during which the suspects pulled out their guns, Adams said. The citizen then pulled out his gun, for which he had a license to carry, and shot both suspects, said Adams, who personally reviewed surveillance video of the scene.
"It is unusual, but it's certainly not unheard of," said Chief Bill Heim, Reading Police Dept. "We've had several occasions over the past few years where citizens have been in such situations."
The man who fired the shots remained on the scene and surrendered his gun when officers arrived, said Adams, adding that he doesn't expect to file criminal charges because it appears the man "acted justifiably under the law."
In the meantime, neighbors said they're upset by the events that unfolded Monday afternoon.
"I have lived here since 1962," said Carmela Chipperfield. "Things are not like it used to be. A lot of changes. This man, trying to make a living, and he gets robbed."
Adams and city police will hold a news conference to discuss details of the news conference at 6 p.m.
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