The U.S. military has the best-equipped troops in the world. And you should see what they can do when they have no equipment at all. Meet James Kilcer, a Marine Corps veteran who served in Afghanistan and now works as a civilian at the U.S. Army’s Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona.
Mr. Kilcer was unarmed and on his way to work in the early morning hours Wednesday when he stopped at a local
station and bought a few items in its convenience store.
used to say that you can meet everyday American heroes across a counter. The clerk at Mr. Kilcer’s favorite gas station would certainly agree.
Zach Crenshaw reports for ABC affiliate KNXV-TV:
“I was just getting ready to turn around to leave and I heard the door swinging open in an aggressive fashion,” said Kilcer. “It kind of had my spidey senses tingling a little bit.”
Several people had approached the building and the first one, wearing a mask, was now standing near the counter holding a gun. Unfortunately for the person who had raised his weapon, Mr. Kilcer was not exactly paralyzed with fear. According to the KNXV report:
“Well my first thought was that it was an awfully small barrel,” said Kilcer, commenting on the gun…
“The situation had to be dealt with, and there was really only one way to deal with it,” the Marine 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.”
In a flash, the 32-year-old father pounced.
“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,” said Kilcer, chuckling.
The father wielded his shopping bag like a weapon.
James Gilbert has more in the Yuma Sun:
Kilcer had just bought two bottles of Gatorade, two cans of Monster energy drinks and a snack, and the items were in a bag hanging from his wrist.
When Kilcer swung his arm to grab the gun, the sack of items hit the armed robber in the face.
Our hero then seized control of the gun and its former owner, at which point the others fled. The video of Mr. Kilcer’s remarkable response to the attempted robbery has since been viewed around the world and sparked significant commentary from admirers on social media.
“A good guy with a gatorade,” tweets Liane Yvkoff, who identifies herself online as a “Professional Time Waster” from suburbia but clearly has developed a strong Twitter game.
As for the aftermath of the attempted robbery, Caitlin Doornbos reports for Stars and Stripes:
“The customer was able to detain the suspect he disarmed until law enforcement arrived,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement late Wednesday. “No injuries reported from any of the victims.”
… When deputies later asked Kilcer how he was able to take control of the situation, he said: “The Marine Corps taught me not to [mess] around,” according to police.
Mr. Kilcer says that as he was holding the suspect on the ground, the alleged perpetrator said that he was just 14 years old. Mr. Gilbert adds in the Yuma Sun:
The suspect, whose name is not being released due to his age, was later booked into the Yuma County Juvenile Justice Center on one count of armed robbery and one count of aggravated assault.
The other suspects are still being sought.
A native of upstate New York, Kilcer served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 2007 to 2011 and was stationed at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma.
He was assigned to Marine Air Control Squadron (MACS) 1.
Kilcer has worked at [the Yuma Proving Ground] the past four years, and is currently with the threat systems and target simulations division.
Wednesday morning was no simulation and Mr. Kilcer’s threat systems are clearly up to snuff. As for the young suspect, Mr. Kilcer is suggesting that religious faith would be helpful for his development.
While interviewing Mr. Kilcer on Friday, Dana Perino of Fox News suggested that viewers buy him either an energy drink or a beer, and Mr. Kilcer clarified that he’d prefer a beer.
This weekend readers may also wish to raise a toast of Gatorade–or perhaps another beverage—to all the brave military service members and veterans who never [mess] around.
James Freeman is the co-author of “The Cost: Trump, China and American Revival.”
Follow James Freeman on Twitter.
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