A Dumas businessman who was the victim of an unsolved robbery of his drug store a couple of years ago, fatally shot a masked man who attempted to rob him at gunpoint early Friday morning, according to authorities.

Dumas Police Chief Everett Cox said Bill Canada, owner of Meadors Pharmacy in Dumas, was attempting to open his drug store for business around 5:37 a.m. Friday when he was confronted by an armed man wearing a mask.

The masked man, identified as 31-year-old Tavell Lawson who was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 1999 for aggravated robbery in Desha County, came from behind the building, pointed a gun at Canada and demanded money, Cox said. 

Canada tried to retreat by walking backward toward the door of his pharmacy but the man advanced toward Canada. Canada then fired his gun, striking the man, according to Cox.

Lawson was pronounced dead at the scene by Desha County Coroner Joe Wilkin.

“Based on the information I have received, it appears that Mr. Canada acted completely within his right of self-defense,” said 10th Judicial District Prosecutor Thomas Deen.

Deen said Canada was also the victim of a robbery of the drug store a couple of years ago and that robbery was never solved.

Lawson’s body was sent to the state Crime Lab and the case is still under investigation, according to Cox.