Real Life Combat: LA Tan Robber Shot, Killed
From the South Town Star:
First he saw the young clerk, bound with ropes. Then Jason McDaniel saw the gunman.
Moments after the 29-year-old husband and father walked into a south suburban tanning salon Saturday night, McDaniel looked into a pair of hard cold eyes and he knew he might not make it out alive.
After shooting and killing the intruder who was terrorizing two women, a customer and an employee, at the L.A. Tan, Jason McDaniel can’t stop being thankful.
“I thank God I came in those doors to help those girls. I thank God it was me,” McDaniel told the SouthtownStar on Sunday night from his southwest suburban home, his 15-month old daughter playing at his side.
His first thought wasn’t shooting. He tried to offer money. He tried to reason.
“Man you don’t have to do this. I’ve got a little girl at home, I’m a new daddy.” McDaniel told the man, that tactic wasn’t working. The gunman – a stocky, dark-skinned white man in his late 30s to early 40s, McDaniel recalled – told him that he didn’t care. Instead, he ordered him to tie his hands.
When the gunman, who authorities identified as 48-year-old Gary Amaya, of Rankin, Ill., reached for the ropes he carried in a bag, McDaniel saw his chance and took it. Lunging at the unmasked man and knocking him to the ground, he then grabbed the gun from the counter where the man had left it.
The man fought back, and McDaniel shot him as the two struggled on the ground.
“Then I was standing up again and he was still grabbing for things in his pocket, so I shot him again.”
He doesn’t own a gun but he knew how to use one. He didn’t aim to kill. He just had to save those girls, and save himself, he said.
“I did what I had to do,” he said.
For those who want to pretend that you can talk your way out of a robbery or rape, Jason tried everything, but was unsuccessful.
And for those who say the typical robber or intruder “just wants your wallet or TV,” the suspect may be the “Honeybee Killer,” wanted for mudering one man and injuring a second.
As for the “he’s just a harmless guy who needs money” theory, Jason says,
McDaniel, for his part, is pretty sure the man was not after money.
“I think he was there to hurt people. He had all kinds of things with him. He had a beating stick on his belt – one of those batons police carry. And more things, too. It was like he was going to war.”
McDaniel figures the man didn’t expect survivors to identify him after. “What scared me most is he didn’t have a mask on,” he said.