On January 26th at 6:40 a.m., Christopher Lilly, 30, walked into the 54 Food Mart convenience store at 26556 Wesley Chapel Blvd. wearing a black mask and intending on robbing the store. Lilly demanded money and ordered the clerk and the customer into the walk-in cooler. This according to the police report of the incident.
However, Lilly was not the only one that day who was armed. Another, as of now unnamed customer also happened to be carrying his concealed carry handgun on him that day. According to deputies reports, the man handed his gun to a store clerk, who exited the cooler and fired a warning shot. Lilly then dropped the gun and the clerk and customer tried to subdue him, Doll said.
During the wrestling match, Lilly tried to reach for his dropped gun. That’s when the customer reclaimed his weapon and shot Lilly in the right thigh.
A passer-by called 911 at that point and a Pasco County deputy responded within two minutes. The deputy arrived as the wounded Lilly was trying to run from the store.
Once Lilly was in custody and his mask removed, the customer who shot him realized Lilly used to work for his landscaping company.
Lilly was flown to a nearby hospital for treatment of what deputies described as injuries that weren’t life-threatening. Once released, he was booked into the Land O’Lakes Detention Center, where he is being held in lieu $55,000. He faces charges of armed robbery and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, Doll said.
The sheriff said the customer stated that he wanted to wound Lilly, not to kill him.
“I just wanted to stop his actions,” the customer told deputies.
The investigation is still ongoing, which is why the Sheriff’s Office withheld the names of the customer and clerk. But, according to the police, it was unlikely that the customer will face any charges in the shooting.
“(The customer) definitely stopped the crime from being committed and may have saved someone’s life. Preliminary information indicates he exercised his right with a concealed weapons permit — he was in accordance with the law in what happened.”