Tuesday, February 14, 2023

GA: Three Armed Customers Stop Armed Robbery at Ellijay Ideal Mart

Gilmer County Courthouse in Elijay, Georgia, public domain


According to Ellijay Police, on January 9, 2023, at about 6:30 p.m., Shawn Sutton, 39 years old, and a convicted felon, posed as a customer ready to purchase an energy drink at the Ideal Mart on at 31 Old Northcutt Road in Ellijay Georgia.

Ellijay is the county seat of Gilmer County, Georgia, about 60 miles north of Atlanta. Gilmer County was founded in 1832, on the junction of the Coosawattee River and the Etoway River. It is a thriving rural county with 31,000 residents.

There were two real customers and a store clerk inside the Ideal Mart with Sutton. Outside, there was one customer at the gas pumps. Melody Sutton, Shawn's wife, was in a parked car outside the store.

The suspect, Shawn Sutton, obtained the energy drink, then pulled a pair of women's panties from around his neck to cover his face. Sutton went behind the counter and pointed a .45 caliber handgun at the head of the clerk. Sutton demanded all the money.

One of the customers produced his concealed firearm and intervened. The other customer went outside to retrieve his pistol from his vehicle, and returned to help subdue Sutton. The third armed customer, at the gas pumps, came inside to assist, as Sutton was attempting to leave. The first armed customer told the other two armed customers not to shoot Sutton, as Sutton had been disarmed.

At this point in time, law enforcement officers arrived at the scene.  It was 6:36 p.m. Sutton was still attempting to leave. One officer ordered the suspect to get down. Sutton did not comply. The officer used a Taser to engage the suspect, who was then taken into custody. As other officers arrived on the scene, one of them discovered Melody Sutton in the parked car. She was taken into custody without incident. The couple were from Blue Ridge, Georgia. Blue Ridge is 18 miles northeast of Ellijay on the Zell Miller Mountain Parkway.

Officers from three departments, Ellijay, East Ellijay, and the Gilmer County Sheriff's office, all responded to the 911 call, arrived at the scene, and assisted in taking the suspects into custody.

Shawn Sutton is charged with one count of Armed Robbery, one count of Aggravated Assault, and one count of Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon. Shawn and Melody Sutton are being held without bond.

Georgia became a member of the Constitutional (permitless) Carry club on April 12, 2022. Georgia became the 25th state where  no permit is necessary for a law abiding person to carry a loaded firearm, openly or concealed. No permit was required in 1791, when the Second Amendment was ratified.


Armed robbery is a dangerous occupation in the middle of an armed population. The armed customers demonstrated good situational awareness, discipline, cooperation, and restraint. The police and armed citizens worked together to resolve a dangerous situation and take a felon into custody. When the population and police trust each other and work together, low crime rates are the result.


©2023 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

Gun Watch


Chip Saunders said...

Reminds me of this scene in the 1986 TV movie RIGHT OF THE PEOPLE about a community that decides to allow Constitutional carry. https://youtu.be/CHNc5nGDjX0?t=3867

Anonymous said...

Actually police agencies started out as a group of people with the authority to investigate crime and eventually they realized they needed to be armed. when the concept of police was initiated they were not allowed to be armed. If they need to be armed why don't we need to be armed? If you need help call a cop? if there were enough cops maybe we should carry one of them on our hip. Currently I'm too old to carry a cop so I depend on my exceptional ability to carry and use the firearm I paid for to insure my personal right to self defense. Believe me I have had several experience with cops of every level and some of them should be behind bars. I think the recent moves being made to insure the quality of who gets a badge is real progress.