JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- JSO says employees at Academy Sports and Outdoors knew trouble was brewing as soon as Lesley Cowan and Tammy Lynn Gill walked inside the store on Tuesday.
Chief Tom Hackney said Cowan threatened the workers. "Told them if they took the gun that he would blow their heads off," he said.
Police say Cowan refused to turn in the shotgun he carried inside the store. Academy allows guns inside. They service and sell firearms and ammunition. But guns can't be loaded or carried openly. They must be checked at the front counter.
"They didn't know for sure at that time, but that shotgun that he carried in that store was loaded," said Chief Hackney.
While Cowan and Gill worked their way back to the gun section to purchase ammunition, JSO says a store employee was on the phone with a 911 operator the entire time, giving police descriptions of the suspects, their clothing and car. Meanwhile, an employee on the floor opened a lane so the suspects could get what they wanted, and get out of the store.
"In order to facilitate then exiting the store as fast as possible, they allowed them to complete the transaction. They had purchased some shotgun ammunition," said Chief Hackney.
Once the couple left the store, JSO was there to greet them. That's when the shootout occurred that left Cowen dead, and Gill in jail. No one else was hurt. Hackney said, "I really need to commend the Academy Sports folks for their actions in this case. It was their quick thinking and their store policies, I believe, that really allowed this to not escalate inside the store."
Action News tried to reach Academy Sports for comment. Our calls were not returned.
Gill is now in the Duval County Jail, charged with carrying a concealed firearm, making written threats, and attempting to elude police. We're told more charges could come. Bond was set at $500,000.