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Gun At Foiled L.A. Tan Robbery Linked To ‘Honeybee’ Shootings

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Orland Park released this photo of L.A. Tan gunman Gary Amaya. (Orland Park Police Dept.)

Orland Park released this photo of L.A. Tan gunman Gary Amaya. (Orland Park Police Dept.)

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Updated 12/13/10 6:52 p.m. C.T.

ORLAND PARK, Ill. (STMW/WBBM) - Ballistics testing on the .38 caliber revolver recovered at the scene of a shooting at an Orland Park tanning salon shows it was the same gun used in October’s shootings at the Illinois and Indiana state lines, police sources tell CBS 2.

Police today have been at the downstate home of Gary Amaya, who was killed in the weekend robbery and who authorities say may be be the “honeybee killer” who killed one man and wounded two others in the attacks, a law enforcement source said.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Steve Miller Talks With Hero

Orland Park Police Chief Tim McCarthy says a customer who shot and killed the would-be robber is a hero who prevented a terrible tragedy.

McCarthy said customer Jason McDaniel walked in on the robbery at an L.A. Tan store and was ordered by the robber to tie himself up. McDaniel, fearing that he would be killed, lunged for the gun and during a struggle, killed 48-year-old Gary Amaya.

wbbm 1213 honeybee killer killer Gun At Foiled L.A. Tan Robbery Linked To Honeybee Shootings

Jason McDaniel turned the tables on an armed intruder at L.A. Tan in Orland Park. (CBS)

“I did what I had to do to get home to my family,” McDaniel, a husband and the father of a young girl, told CBS 2’s Roseanne Tellez.

Amaya’s truck matches the one used in the October killings and now sources have told CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole the gun also matches. Amaya lives in Rankin, about 100 miles south of Chicago.

At L.A. Tan, a man entered the business about 6:30 p.m. and announced a robbery and pointed a handgun at a female employee. The man then ordered a female customer using a tanning bed to tie the hands and feet of the female employee with a rope he had brought with him, officials said. A few minutes later, McDaniel entered the business and was ordered at gunpoint by the suspect to tie his hands together, according to police.

But McDaniel grabbed the gun. He shot the suspect twice, police said.

Nick Patel, owner and CEO of L.A. Tan, called the McDaniel “a true hero.”

“I thank God I came in those doors to help those girls,” McDaniel, said. “I thank God it was me.”

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. But 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 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.

In the so-called “honeybee” shootings, Lynwood cop Brian Dorian was initially charged in the case but the charges quickly were dropped.

Rolando Alonso, 45, was killed Oct. 5 in rural Beecher. Another victim, Joshua Garza, 19, was shot in his right eye. The gunman also shot Keith Dahl, 64, an Indiana farmer. The gunman asked Dahl about honeybees before he started shooting.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2010. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. WBBM contributed to this report.)

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