Business continued as usual at the Almond Avenue Pharmacy in Madera. It’s something owner Bryan Lee never would have imagined, Tuesday night. At around 6:30 p.m., two men in ski masks barged into his pharmacy on Almond Avenue. He says they made their way through the back door.
“It was not a robbery so much as it was an execution. It was an attempted assassination. They didn't make any demands. They simply came in, went over here, I mean they were basically trying to shoot us in the back of the head,” explained Lee.
His mother, Sophie, was shot in the leg. He said it all happened so fast. He explained, “I ducked down behind the counter and he kept firing and I was afraid they were going to kill both of us.”
That's when Lee said he grabbed his gun and shot back. Police say Lee hit the shooter, 31-year-old Aquilla Bailey in the face, torso and leg, killing him. Police say Bailey is a gang member from Fresno. The second man, who wasn't armed, was able to get away. Police are still trying to find a motive, but say the incident was likely an attempted robbery.
“The information that we've developed is that the pharmacy was targeted probably specifically for the drugs on hand there. We don't have any information that the owner was specifically targeted at this point,” said Chief Steve Frazier.
Frazier says if Lee wasn't armed, he and his mother would have likely been killed.
I can tell you in this instance that this individual having that gun the time that he had it absolutely saved his life and if there's any take away from that, it's just that,” said Frazier.
“I'm grateful, definitely. I thought yesterday was the last day for both of us. Luckily it didn't turn out that way,” expressed Lee.
Lee says his pharmacy had been robbed two times in the past. He says both times were unsuccessful. His mother was treated and released from the hospital, last night.
Police are still searching for the second man. They say even though he was not armed, he will likely face murder charges when arrested.