A father armed with a pistol stopped what could have been a mass shooting on Saturday inside a Birmingham, Alabama, McDonald’s, taking down a masked gunman who had stormed in and opened fire, Fox News and others reported.
The father — as yet unidentified — was leaving the Lomb Avenue restaurant with his sons when a man wearing a mask walked into the Birmingham fast-food location and started shooting, WBRC-TV reported.
The father returned fire, and “during the ensuing shootout, the gunman, the father and one of the man’s teenage sons were struck,” Fox News reported.
The unidentified gunman later died of his injuries, while the injuries to the father and his son “were not considered life-threatening.”
“I’m feeling grateful,” McDonald’s employee Markus Washington (shown above left) told WBRC.
He noted that he had been making burgers when the shooting began. He ran into the restaurant’s freezer, where he heard about 15 shots fired.
“Wrapping my head around it all, I was just wishing someone would come wake me up from this nightmare.”
He added, “All we hear is like different gunfire, so in my mind, I’m imagining everybody is dead. He’s looking for us,” he said.
Washington said he was glad an armed customer was in the restaurant at the time.
“He’s my hero. Because I can only imagine how it would’ve [gone] if he wasn’t armed. We might not be here having this interview,” Washington told WBRC.
The father is not expected to face charges, according to police, as Fox News reported.
Authorities are now working to determine a motive for the actions of the gunman.
“We just have to work together and try to find a solution to our issues without resorting to violence.”
“Things like this are difficult for both families. The gentleman who unfortunately lost his life, the teenage boy who is in the hospital recovering from his injuries, and the father who is also recovering from his injuries,” Birmingham police spokesman Sgt. Bryan Shelton said, according to WVTM-13.
“It’s not easy being a father and watching your child get injured, get hurt like that. It’s a really heart-wrenching experience.”
Another community member weighed in on a video uploaded to YouTube (see his comments below).
“It’s really sad on an otherwise positive day to have an ending like this … It’s truly sad, but it’s something as a community we can overcome. We just have to work together and try to find a solution to our issues without resorting to violence.”
See more in the video below.