Hero vet stops robbery with MMA choke hold



He never knew what hit him.

A 38-year-old who attempted to rob a Grand Rapids party goods store was grabbed with lightning speed and floored by a heroic Iraq vet who happened to be the in shop, a local Fox affiliate reports.

Zach Thome, a mixed martial arts-trained former soldier, put gunman Brandon Slanger, 38, in a rear naked choke hold and held him until police arrived.

“I look at the cashier, I kind of know him, I come in there every day. I whispered to him, I mouthed to him, ‘Are you getting robbed right now?’ He said, ‘Yeah,’ like really scared,” Thome told the local reporter.

The robbery attempt began with a brief scuffle between the clerk and Slanger, leaving with he would-be robber standing at the counter, demanding money.

“He (the suspect) said, ‘give me the money or I’m going to shoot you. I have a gun in my pocket. I’m going to shoot you, give me the money,”‘ said Sunny Singh, the store’s owner, translating for the clerk who the suspect threatened.

That’s when Thome lunged at Slanger and subdued him. The pair can be seen in surveillance video with Thome on the floor behind Slanger, his legs wrapped around Slanger’s waist and a forearm at Slanger’s neck.

Slanger has since been charged with assault with intent to commit an armed robbery, and being an habitual offender.

“It’s kind of my hometown. I live right next to the place, you know, I’m in there everyday. I think if it was the other way around, if I worked there and the guy at the register was there, he would have done the same thing,” said Thome.

[via Fox 17 Grand Rapids]

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