Customer hailed as a hero in Orrville shooting

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 18, 2014

ORRVILLE — Law enforcement officials are calling Marlo Ellis a hero in the wake of Thursday’s shooting at the Dollar General in Orrville.

Ellis shot and killed Dallas County resident Kevin McLaughlin after McLaughlin entered the store, reportedly shouting and waving a gun.

Authorities said that as McLaughlin was leading a group of people into a break room, Ellis turned and used his own pistol to shoot McLaughlin. Ellis’ weapon was concealed according to Sheriff Harris Huffman.

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McLaughlin was pronounced dead shortly after the shooting.

Dallas County Sheriff’s Department chief deputy Randy Pugh said McLaughlin’s motive is still unclear, but the death appeared to be a case of self-defense.

“We don’t know what would have happened, but we know what could have happened,” Pugh said. “We see every indication that the shooting was a case of self defense.”

He said Ellis was properly certified to carry a concealed weapon. Though, Ellis may have broken the law by entering the store with a weapon.

A sign at the store’s entrance says the Dollar General does not allow the open carry of firearms, but neither the sheriff’s department nor District Attorney Michael Jackson say they plan to press charges against Ellis.

Jackson said the sign warns customers that the store doesn’t want guns on the premises. If the owner spots a customer carrying a weapon, he or she can ask the customer to leave. Jackson said the owner could also ask a customer to leave if he or she was carrying a concealed weapon. If the customer remains on the property, Jackson said he or she would be trespassing.

“The owner or employee would have to tell the person to leave to press charges,” Jackson said. “What (Ellis) did was being a good Samaritan to keep (McLaughlin) from harming other folks.”

McLaughlin’s body will be sent to the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences for an autopsy. Pugh said it was unclear if alcohol or drugs were involved in the incident.

Burial services for McLaughlin are scheduled for Sunday.