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story.lead_photo.caption Police officers stand at the scene of a shooting on the east side of Lake Hefner in Oklahoma City, Thursday, May 24, 2018. A man armed with a pistol walked into Louie’s On The Lake restaurant at the dinner hour and opened fire, wounding two customers, before being shot dead by a handgun-carrying civilian in the parking lot, police said. (Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman via AP)

OKLAHOMA CITY — The man suspected of shooting three people inside an Oklahoma City restaurant before being fatally shot by bystanders had no obvious connection to the victims or the restaurant and was legally authorized to carry a firearm, authorities said Friday.

Oklahoma City Police Capt. Bo Mathews said investigators were trying to determine a motive behind the Thursday attack that wounded four people. He said the only interaction police had with the suspected gunman, 28-year-old Alexander Tilghman, was during a domestic assault and battery call when Tilghman was 13.

A police report from that 2003 incident indicates Tilghman was arrested after his mother told police he punched her several times during a dispute over a vacuum cleaner.

Mathews said the shooting appeared to be random but noted that Tilghman drove to the restaurant and wore protective gear for his ears and eyes.

"It looked like his mind was made up that he was going to discharge his firearm once he got there," Mathews said during a Friday news conference.

Mathews stressed that the investigation was ongoing and confirmed that Tilghman's mental health was being looked into.

Tilghman was licensed as an armed security guard, which authorized him to carry a firearm, said Gerald Konkler, general counsel for the Oklahoma Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training. The council certifies law enforcement officers and other armed personnel across the state.

Obtaining such a license requires a background check and at least 72 hours of training.

On Friday, Mathews praised the two citizens who shot Tilghman outside the restaurant. Mathews said each man retrieved a firearm from his vehicle. Tilghman's body was discovered about 50 to 75 feet from the restaurant's front door, almost in the parking lot.

"They were able to shoot the suspect and put an end to a very dangerous situation," Mathews said.

Police said Tilghman was armed with a pistol when he opened fire inside Louie's On The Lake around 6:30 p.m. Thursday. A 39-year-old woman and two girls were shot and wounded, while an unarmed man broke his arm while trying to flee.

All four victims were in good condition Friday, according to police.

Dennis Will said his daughter and granddaughter were among those shot. Talking with reporters outside the hospital where the shooting victims were taken, Will said his daughter called him after the shooting and said they had been shot while entering the restaurant for a birthday dinner.

A woman who answered the phone at the home believed to belong to Tilghman's mother declined to comment when contacted by The Associated Press.

Mathews said it's unlikely either of the civilian shooters will face criminal charges but said that decision will be made by Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater's office once the investigation is completed. Mathews said he was unaware if either of the men was licensed to carry a firearm, but state law allows a person without a license to carry a firearm in their vehicle under certain circumstances.

Police identified the citizen shooters as Juan Carlos Nazario and Bryan Whittle. Telephone and text messages seeking comment from the two men were not immediately returned.

The Hal Smith Restaurant Group, which owns the restaurant, released a statement saying the restaurant was closed Friday and counselors were available to employees and customers.

"We are extremely thankful the situation didn't escalate further, and that injuries were not more widespread. However, our hearts are with the wounded during this incident," company officials said, referring other questions to police.

The National Rifle Association said in a tweet Friday that the shooting was an example of "how the best way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun." The organization said it hopes the incident serves as a "wake-up call" for Republican Gov. Mary Fallin, who recently vetoed a so-called constitutional carry bill that would have allowed adults to carry firearms without a license or training in Oklahoma.

In April, a restaurant patron wrestled an assault-style rifle away from a gunman at a Waffle House in Nashville, Tenn. Four people were killed in that shooting. Police have said there would have been far more casualties if it weren't for the patron's quick thinking.

Read Saturday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

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  • Packman
    May 25, 2018 at 8:57 a.m.

    Who's gonna tell the gun grabbers? Good guy civilian with gun stops bad guy with gun. Gonna be a lot of butthurt among those that say this never happens.

  • RobertBolt
    May 25, 2018 at 10:04 a.m.

    Rare good news does not counterbalance the ongoing health calamity brought by the absence of effective gun control. Analogously, botulism is a deadly poison that kills too many, but when its use is carefully controlled, botulinum temporarily relieves wrinkles in skin. We do not minimize deaths from botulism poisoning by saying grandma has fewer wrinkles. Similarly, we must not minimize the many thousands of gun-related deaths every year by saying a few of the deaths are justified.
    Besides, you have repeatedly stated zero percent of shootings involve guns. Is it now your position that justifiable shootings involve guns and all other shootings do not involve guns? Pretzels make lousy advocates.

  • HarleyOwner
    May 25, 2018 at 10:42 a.m.

    Boltar, can you explain why the toughest gun laws in the nation in Chicago are not working?

  • RobertBolt
    May 25, 2018 at 11:04 a.m.

    Because Chicago's laws are regional and not national. Can you explain why much tougher gun laws in England do work?

  • Packman
    May 25, 2018 at 11:22 a.m.

    Rare good news? You lie, Boltar. There are countless instances over the past few years of good guy civilians with guns saving lives. Do you even Google. Of course, your lies are not surprising considering you believe inanimate objects involve themselves.
    "Because Chicago's laws are regional and not national." BWHAAAAHAAAHAAAAAAAAAAA! Why stop at national? What about Canada and Mexico on the North American Continent? The fact is when you account for just the most 5 violent cities in the US our homicide rate drops to the 3rd lowest in the world. American doesn't have a gun problem. America has an inner city crime problem.
    "Can you explain why much tougher gun laws in England do work?" Sure, but first define "work". Regardless, possible answers include the lack of Planned Parenthood and the devaluation of human life by pro abortion baby killers. Or ingrained baby momma culture found within our inner cities. Meantime, waiting for your definition of "work" from the anonymous tribal troll Boltar.

  • RBear
    May 25, 2018 at 11:28 a.m.

    Harley actually that's a myth about Chicago gun laws. Changes to those laws have shown they are not the "toughest in the nation" and are on par with most cities across the nation.
    Then we have AR's version of the master of hyperbole in Pack. "There are countless instances over the past few years of good guy civilians with guns saving lives." Countless? I can count them on two hands and still have some fingers left. I did Google and didn't come up with that many.

  • RobertBolt
    May 25, 2018 at 11:28 a.m.

    Raving pretzels make even worse advocates.

  • LRCrookAttorney
    May 25, 2018 at 1:29 p.m.

    I wonder if a school was close enough for CNN to call this a "school related shooting?"

  • Packman
    May 25, 2018 at 1:58 p.m.

    Hey RBear - Seems that you suck at Google. Ann Coulter just published (this week I believe) an article citing several very public instances of good guys with guns saving lives. The NRA has archived literally hundreds of stories of armed citizens defending themselves against bad guys with guns. The facts are there, RBear. It's not my fault you suck at Google.
    Hey Boltar - Here is some interesting FACT that destroys your narrative:
    53% of Wyoming residents own guns. The gun homicide rate there is 1.7 per 100k residents.
    58% of Arkansans own guns. The gun homicide rate here is 7.2 per 100K residents.
    26% of Washington DC residents own guns. The gun homicide rate there is 18 per 100K residents.
    More guns equal more gun homicides....Nah, not according to the numbers, skippy. BTW, the data is the most recent available from the CDC and the FBI. But feel free to correct it if wrong.

  • GeneralMac
    May 25, 2018 at 2:28 p.m.

    and in Minnesota an off duty small town cop shot and killed a young Muslim man who went on a stabbing rampage in a St Cloud mall.

    I'll bet THAT incident wasn't accounted for on RBear's fingers.