CHARGES UNLIKELY AGAINST MAN WHO SHOT ROBBERS
By Carlos E. Medina
OCALA - The Internet cafe patron who shot and injured two men as they tried to rob the business will likely not face any criminal charges.
"Based on what I have seen and what I know at this time, I don't anticipate filing any charges," said Bill Gladson of the State Attorney's Office for 5th Judicial Circuit.
Gladson said he has reviewed the security surveillance video from the cafe. While he still awaits final reports from the Marion County Sheriff's Office, he said the shooting appeared justified.
Samuel Williams, 71, who fired the shots, has a concealed weapons permit, according to the Sheriff's Office. Under Florida law, a person is allowed to use deadly force if he or she fears death or serious injury to themselves or others. As long as the person isn't committing a crime and is in a place where he or she has a right to be, they are considered to be acting within the law.
Williams, who lives in Ocala, could not be reached for comment on Monday. But at least one of his 30 fellow patrons at the cafe wants to thank him.
"I think he is wonderful. If he wouldn't have been there, there could have been some innocent people shot," said Mary Beach.
Beach was sitting in with her back to the door Friday night and didn't realize what was happening until she heard shots.
"I heard pop, pop; then pop, pop, pop, all at once," she said. "In the confusion I never really got to see his (Williams) face."
Surveillance video of the incident was released on Monday by the Sheriff's Office. It shows two masked men entering the Palms Internet Cafe, 8444 SW State Road 200 in Ocala, just before 10 p.m. Friday. One of the men had a gun.
Williams was seated toward the back of the cafe dressed in a white shirt, shorts and baseball cap.
One of the masked men, identified as Duwayne Henderson, 19, comes in pointing a handgun at customers. The second man, Davis Dawkins, 19, is seen swinging a bat at something off screen, which was later identified as a $1,200 computer screen.
As Henderson turns his back, Williams pulls out a .380-caliber semi-automatic handgun, stands from his chair, takes two steps, nearly drops to one knee, and fires two shots at Henderson, who bolts for the front door.
Williams takes several more steps toward the door and continues firing as Henderson and Dawkins fall over one another trying to exit the building. The two eventually run off screen.
Both men were shot by Williams. Their wounds were not life-threatening. Each was arrested hours later and charged with attempted armed robbery with a firearm and felony criminal mischief.
Henderson remained in the Marion County Jail late Monday in lieu of a $31,000 bond. Dawkins was released Sunday after posting an $11,000 bond.
Internet cafes are regulated by the state. They offer sweepstakes entries, which are used to buy time on computer terminals that simulate casino-style games. The operations, which have sprung up around the county and the state, are known to deal in cash.