OKLAHOMA CITY -- Police in Oklahoma City are investigating the motive for a shooting rampage last night at a lakeside restaurant. A woman and two girls were shot beforeand killed the shooter.
Police said the suspect, 28-year-old Alexander Tilghman, randomly picked Louie's Restaurant, which was packed with dinner-time patrons.
"It could have been really bad. It is a confined area and nobody can really escape," said Oklahoma City Police Department Capt. Bo Mathews.
Twelve-year-old Niah Will, her mother Natalie and another young girl were shot. All three are recovering and listed in good condition.
Police said the suspect stood in the restaurant doorway and started shooting. He was wearing ear muffs and safety glasses, police said, the kind you would use at a shooting range.
"There was a pop, pop, pop," said Ron Benton, one of about 100 patrons who hit the floor and then the door. He ran and hid between the cars. "We picked him up he was coming through [a] tree line."
Benton said that he watched as two armed civilians, Bryan Whittle and Juan Carlos Nazario, confronted the gunman. Police say they each grabbed a handgun from the trunk of their vehicles.
"They told him, 'Put it down, put it down, put it down, drop the weapon, drop the weapon,'" said Benton.
Nazario and Whittle, who did not know each other, both shot the suspect, who died at the scene.
Authorities said Tilghman posted to a video to YouTube last month in which he rambled that his refrigerator was attacking him and he's hearing noises.
"I apologize. I am not doing well. I am really, really doing bad right now," Tilghman said.
We learned Friday that Tilghman was licensed to carry a weapon as a security guard. Nazario, one of the armed civilians who shot him, is also a security guard but said he's about to start a new career in law enforcement.
"Anybody who feels compelled when they hear shots fired and go into that direction and help out I mean what do you say about that person that person is a badass," said Benton.
According to online posts, Tilghman had been to the area to walk around Lake Hefner, which is right behind the restaurant. The National Rifle Association (NRA) calls what happened here another example of how the best way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.
Nazario seemed to still be in shock on Friday evening. "I took the life of another man," he said, adding that he heard the gunfire and acted on instinct.