An 18-year-old man is in custody after he and another suspect allegedly stole two guns from the East Side Gun Shop Monday afternoon.
Metro police caught up to Alajawan Dillard, 18, walking behind the Checkers restaurant on Gallatin Pike after the owner of the gun shop at 1048 East Trinity Lane called 911 Monday afternoon, according to police. Officers recovered both guns and no one was injured.
One suspect, described by police as a black man in a hooded sweatshirt who fled on foot, remains at large.
East Side Gun Shop owner Bill Bernstein said the two men had apparently visited the gun shop before because they asked about a certain product he had.
Bernstein, who has a policy of not allowing anyone under the age of 21 into the shop, asked one of the men how old he was. When one of the men said he’d just turned 18, Bernstein told the two they had to leave. The two men then paused near the door, with one of the suspects holding two of the shop’s semi-automatic Military-style rifles — a Bushmaster AR-15 and a Polish under-folder AK-47 — in his hands. The two men paused briefly before running off with the weapons.
“I came around the counter,” Bernstein said, “I drew my hand back to my gun … They said to me, ‘Don’t shoot,’ and because they didn’t present a weapon — they didn’t present a threat to me — I was not able to draw the gun. I ran out after them, saw which way they were going, and called 911.”
Police spokeswoman Kristin Mumford said both guns were later found nearby and returned to the shop. She said Dillard told police he stole the guns for protection or to sell them.
Bernstein later identified Dillard as one of the thieves.