'It was not fun': Concealed carry gun owner recounts shooting robber in leg during Waukegan confrontation

Frank AbderholdenContact Reporter

A 30-year-old Gurnee man trying to sell some items through an online exchange site met two buyers in Waukegan on Thursday, and when they tried to rob him, he pulled out a concealed handgun and shot one of them in the leg, according to Waukegan police.

While the Gurnee man did not want to be named, he said in an interview Friday that at one point, two young men had guns pointed at him inside his vehicle after he thought he was meeting a woman to sell an iPhone. His identity was confirmed to the News-Sun by police.

“It was not fun,” he said Friday evening. “This was all over a freaking phone I was trying to sell,” he added, sounding frustrated and describing how one suspect ran from the car with the iPhone X.

“I put the car in park and chased after him, and he turned and pointed a gun at me. I shot three rounds from the hip — one grazed his head and another hit his thigh,” he said, adding that at one point, the suspect “tried to lift the gun after he was on the ground. I told him, ‘I will kill you. I don’t want to do it but I will.’”

A video obtained by the News-Sun shows the man pointing a gun at the suspect, who is lying on the ground next to a fire hydrant at the northeast corner of 9th Avenue and Fulton Street.

According to Cmdr. Joe Florip of the Waukegan Police Department, Lawrence Dye, 20, of Waukegan, was charged with armed robbery and aggravated unlawful use of a weapon after he was taken to a local hospital and treated for non-life threatening injuries.

“The two suspects tried to rob (the Gurnee man), and the victim pulled out his gun and shot the suspect once in the leg,” Florip said. He confirmed that the Gurnee man had a valid concealed carry permit and fired three shots at the suspect, who also had a real gun that was recovered on the scene.

The incident began Thursday before 1 p.m. with a call to police reporting there was an armed robbery in progress. While officers were responding, it was upgraded to a shooting, Florip said.

“The victim explained to officers that he was using the selling app (Letgo) and agreed to meet Dye to sell him property,” police reported in a statement, adding that Dye allegedly attempted to rob the man with help from another suspect.

The Gurnee man said the deal started without any problems, adding he has used Letgo to sell items before and did not have any trouble.

This time, he said, he was contacted by a woman who said she was interested in buying a white iPhone X as long as it was unlocked.

“I checked her out, and she had a link to Facebook,” he said, adding that she gave an address in the 800 block of Fulton Street, and he pulled up to the house expecting her to come outside for the exchange.

Instead, he said, “two kids approach my car, and before I could say anything one asks if I’m selling the phone and I said yes. He just jumped into the car (the passenger seat) and asked how much. I told him $750 or best offer.”

That’s when, according to the Gurnee man, the suspect said “this is my phone now” and added “I’ll take your phone and your wallet.”

The Gurnee man added that the second suspect jumped into the backseat “and put a gun to my head,” so he pushed the second suspect’s arm with the gun away from him and against the headrest, while the first suspect in the passenger seat pulled out a gun.

“I was trying to keep them from pointing at me. I put the car in drive and floored it, and the guy in the back jumped or fell out,” he said. He stopped the car, and the suspect in the passenger seat jumped out and started trying to escape.

The Gurnee man added that he followed, and the suspect turned and pointed the gun at him and he fired. He said this was the first time he ever had to use his concealed-carry weapon, adding that he has been licensed since 2012, when he took a class at Bass Pro Shop in Gurnee.

“It all happened so fast — from the car to the shooting was probably 45 seconds,” he said. “I always carry, because you never know in this crazy world.”

Dye was due in bond court Friday, and Florip said police are still looking for the suspect who fled the scene.

“It’s an open and active investigation,” Florip said.