- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Business owners in the St. Louis-area rocked by violence over the police shooting of an unarmed black teen have decided to take matters into their own hands in defending what’s rightfully theirs.

St. Louis Ink Tattoo Studio and County Guns share a storefront in a Florissant strip mall less than 10 minutes from the violence that followed a peaceful vigil Sunday night for Michael Brown, who was killed Saturday after allegedly getting into an altercation with police, the Riverfront Times reported.

Rioters and looters torched a QuikTrip to the ground and vandalized cars. More than 30 people were arrested on charges from burglary to assault.

Mike Gutierrez, owner of the tattoo shop, rounded up his friends, including County Guns owner Adam Weinstein, and prepared the protect their property with force.

“We didn’t want them coming in here and then running around with a bunch of free guns,” said Mr. Weinstein, wearing an assault rifle, pistol and tactical vest, the Riverfront Times reported.

The group arrived to find a gang of thieves ransacking a Dollar General in the same strip mall that houses their businesses. Mr. Weinstein said the looters attempted moving toward the shop, but were scared off by the guns. Then the police arrived.

“It is what it is,” Mr. Gutierrez said. “People just got too into their emotions.”

• Jessica Chasmar can be reached at jchasmar@washingtontimes.com.

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