ORLAND PARK (CBS) – Authorities on Monday released a photograph of the gunman who entered an L.A. Tan store in Orland Park over the weekend only to be stopped and killed by a customer.
Sources tell CBS 2 that suspect Gary Amaya’s vehicle and preliminary tests on his weapon link him to the so-called “Honeybee Killer” shooting spree earlier this fall.
CBS 2’s Dorothy Tucker spoke with the hero who stopped him: 29-year-old car salesman Jason McDaniel.
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“I want to give my daughter the world and I can’t do that if I’m not here,” he said.
McDaniel says his goal in life is to go home every night to his 15-month-old daughter, Alexi. So, on Saturday evening when he walked into the Orland Park L.A. Tan salon, interrupted a robbery and came to face to face with a gun, he tried to explain that to the gunman.
“Listen I’m a new father,” he told the gunman who confronted him at the strip-mall store, where the suspect had restrained a female employee. “If it’s about the money. You let the girl go, you let me go and you’ll be fine.”
Added McDaniel: “He basically looked me right in my face and said ‘I don’t care.’”
Police say the gunman was Amaya, 48, of downstate Rankin. They also believe the trucker is the “Honeybee Killer” because the gun Amaya used in the attempted armed robbery is the same one used in the October shooting spree in Illinois and Indiana that left one man dead and two men wounded.
McDaniel said he had no clue about a connection. He said he just saw a terrified young woman tied up behind a counter. And then Amaya demanded he tie himself up. But when the gunman reached for the rope, McDaniel reached for the suspect’s gun.
“As soon as I seen him take his hand off the trigger, that’s when I rushed him,” McDaniel said.
After a struggle, McDaniel shot and killed Amaya. Orland Park police said in a news release that Amaya was shot in the side and had a fracture on his skull, possibly caused when McDaniel struck him with the gun.
Nick Patel owns the tanning salon. He’s giving McDaniel a $5,000 reward. The company also says McDaniel and his wife can tan free at L.A. Tan forever.
“I believe he’s a super hero,” Patel told Tucker.
McDaniel became emotional as he named his greatest reward: being able to see his daughter again.
Orland Park police also praised McDaniel — they did not identify him by name — for scuttling Amaya’s plans. He “showed extreme bravery and courage and clearly may have saved the lives of the two females inside the salon as well as his own,” police said in a news release.