Adult Store Owner Haunted By Shooting

FORT WAYNE, Ind. — John Rinker, owner of VIP Video, was justified in using deadly force against 17-year-old Willie Winder when the boy attempted to rob the store at gunpoint, the Allen County Prosecutor's Office announced Wednesday.

But Rinker, 59, was so traumatized by the incident that he closed the store after 13 years in business and continues to worry whenever he leaves his home, according to The Journal Gazette.

"I have no doubt in my mind whatsoever that that boy was going to kill me," Rinker told the Gazette. "It was not something that was in my control. I had to react and that was it. I've broken the Sixth Commandment; I've taken another man's life."

The incident occurred Sept. 12. Waiting until after Winder's funeral, "out of respect," Rinker held a going-out-of-business sale and closed the store.

"I'm not a heartless old fart," Rinker said. "I wish I knew how I was supposed to feel."

The news of the attempted robbery came as a shock to Winder's family. "I can't imagine what drove him to do something like that," said his mother, Sondra Tolbert, the day after the shooting.

"I feel sorry for [Winder's] family, I really do," Rinker said, "and I'm sorry that that had to happen."

Rinker's store was between a computer repair shop and a cash advance outlet, and the boy, Rinker noted, "could have gone to either side and gotten more money than I had."

Rinker believes that even if he had handed Winder the money he demanded, "he'd still have shot me."