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The customer shoots, kills a masked gunman in Alabama McDonald's

(BIRMINGHAM, Ala.) – A McDonald's customer is being called a hero after he shot and killed a masked man who opened fire inside one of the fast-food chain restaurants in Alabama.

The shooting took place at a McDonald's in Birmingham. Employee Markus Washington said he was cooking hamburgers shortly before closing when he heard several shots. He said that he and another employee went into a freezer and hid while more shots were heard, at least 15 in total.

"Everything we hear is like different shots," Washington told WBRC-TV. "So in my mind, I'm imagining that everyone is dead."

A man wearing a mask burst into the restaurant and started firing when the manager closed the doors on Saturday night, the Birmingham police sergeant. Bryan Shelton told the local news media.

A man who left the McDonald's with his two sons pulled out his own gun and shot the masked man, who later died at a local hospital, Shelton said. The armed client and one of his children, a minor, were also injured.

"At this moment, it seems that the victim made a decision that cost him his life and the father made a decision that preserved his life and that of (his) children," Shelton told al.com.

Sgt. Johnny Williams, a Birmingham police spokesman, said Monday that the injuries to the father and son were not considered life-threatening.

Police did not release the name of the murdered gunman on Monday, and Williams said he was being held awaiting notification of the man's relatives. He said the police do not plan to release the name of the armed client unless he is accused of a crime.

Washington, the employee who hid in the freezer, had nothing but praise for the client who defended himself.

"He is my hero," said Washington. "Because I can only imagine how I would have gone if I was not armed."

Contact the TIME editors about this story at editors@time.com.

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