Authorities say a man with a hatchet who entered a Seattle-area 7-Eleven early Sunday attacked a store clerk and a customer without saying a single word—until the customer pulled out a pistol and shot the suspect dead, CNN reports. The masked hatchet-holder, believed to be in his 40s, came into the Burien store sometime before 6am Sunday and started swinging the hatchet toward the 60-year-old customer, who was drinking his morning coffee, reports Q13 Fox. The suspect then changed course and went behind the counter, where he attacked the clerk, identified by KIRO 7 as Kuldeep Singh. That's when the customer, who has a concealed pistol license, drew his weapon and fired at the suspect, who died after failed resuscitation efforts by paramedics called to the scene, cops say.
The customer is said to be a store regular who's been stopping by for more than 10 years and who's described by another employee as a "nice guy" who often buys scratch-off lottery tickets. "This could have been a lot worse," says King County Sheriff’s Sgt. Cindi West, adding to KOMO that it wasn't clear whether the suspect planned to commit a robbery. Singh received minor injuries to his stomach, while the customer is said to still be too shaken to talk about the incident. One thing he probably doesn't need to worry about is facing charges: KIRO 7 notes that local officers are calling him a hero, while West says that "we do not see any wrongdoing on the part of the customer. In fact, he probably saved lives in this case." (A customer at a Chicago store killed a suspect who had a fake gun.)