A former Marine stopped a would-be robbery at an Arizona gas station early Wednesday morning by wrestling down a would-be robber wielding a gun, according to authorities.
The botched robbery was caught on surveillance footage, showing a customer disarm a gunman and send his accomplice fleeing. The Yuma County Sheriff’s Office said that the customer, identified as 32-year-old James Kilcer, then held down one of the would-be robbers until authorities arrived. The sheriff’s office said in a statement:
On Wednesday, October 20, 2021, at approximately 4:30 AM, Deputies responded to an armed robbery report at the Chevron located at 10747 E. North Frontage Road.
Upon arrival, Deputies learned of three suspects entering the Chevron, one of them armed with a handgun. The armed suspect walked next to a store customer while pointing the weapon toward the cashier when the customer acted immediately and disarmed him. The other two suspects fled the area when they witnessed their fellow criminal stopped. The customer was able to detain the suspect he disarmed until law enforcement arrived.
The suspect detained during the incident was a juvenile and was booked into the Yuma County Juvenile Justice Center for one count of armed robbery and one count of aggravated assault.
The other two suspects are still currently outstanding.
No injuries reported from any of the victims. This case remains under investigation.
“The Marine Corps taught me not to [mess] around,” Kilcer told deputies when asked how he was able to take down the gunman and control the situation.
When this Yuma, AZ veteran saw some criminals pop in guns high — he didn't wait for things to potentially go south.
“The Marine Corp taught me not to [mess] around,” he later said.
— Zach Crenshaw (@ZachCrenshaw) October 21, 2021
Kilcer, who did a tour in Afghanistan, later sat for an interview with ABC 15 Arizona and retold the incident from his perspective.
“I was just getting ready to turn around to leave and I heard the door swinging open in an aggressive fashion,” Kilcer said. “It kind of had my spidey senses tingling a little bit.”
Kilcer turned around to see a man pointing a gun at him. “Well my first thought was that it was an awfully small barrel,” the former Marine said.
“The situation had to be dealt with, and there was really only one way to deal with it,” he continued. “I picked my target and said that’s the one I’m going for and he took an extra step towards me, towards the counter and he was in my reach.”
“I hit him and the gun before my keys hit the ground. That’s how fast I moved – and I’m a little chubby guy. So I mean, I don’t move that fast anymore. I’ve put on a couple pounds since the Marine Corps,” Kilcer said. The former marine, who was unarmed at the time, swung his shopping bag at the gunman’s head and “smashed him in the face and may or may not have broke his nose because he was bleeding all over the place.”
The gunman that Kilcer took down told Kilcer he was 14 years old.
“That boy needs some Jesus,” Kilcer stated. “He’s going down the wrong path real quick.”