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L.A. Tan Honors Hero Who Killed Gunman

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Jason McDaniel killed L.A. Tan gunman Gary Amaya (right). (CBS)

Jason McDaniel killed L.A. Tan gunman Gary Amaya (right). (CBS)

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ROLLING MEADOWS (CBS) – The man who killed a suspected serial criminal at an Orland Park tanning salon last weekend was honored Saturday night for his bravery.

Jason McDaniel, 29, received a $5,000 reward from the owner of L.A. Tan, Nick Patel, at the company’s annual Christmas party, held in Rolling Meadows.

McDaniel unknowingly went into the Orland Park L.A. Tan on Dec. 11 after gunman Gary Amaya had tied up an employee and a customer. After pleading  with Amaya — a 48-year-old downstate Rankin resident now suspected of being the so-called “Honeybee Killer – to leave, McDaniel rushed him and fatally shot the gunman with Amaya’s own weapon.

Saturday, there was little talk of that horrific day, CBS 2’s Mai Martinez reports. Instead, McDaniel and his wife arrived as the guests of honor in a limo.

McDaniel enjoyed a rock star’s welcome, as he was greeted with lots of warm hugs and handshakes. Among those thanking him was Caryn Rohde, the young employee who’s life McDaniel is credited with saving.

Rohde called police as McDaniel struggled with Amaya. McDaniel says she’s the real hero.

“She went through the torture and the hard part,” McDaniel said. “Me, I did what I had to do.”

After the shooting at L.A. Tan, authorities soon zeroed in on Amaya as the gunman in a stateline shooting spree that occurred last October in Illinois and Indiana, which left one man dead and two others wounded.  Officials say the gun from those shootings and the one recovered at L.A. Tan  are the same, according to ballistics tests.

“Anything and everything we do – it’s not enough,” Patel said of Saturday’s award to  McDaniel, whom he called “part of our family.”

McDaniel says he’ll put the $5,000 reward toward his 16-month-old daughter. Getting back to her alive, he said, is the reason he acted so boldy.

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