by: Craig Lucie Updated:
ATLANTA - A robbery at an Arby’s restaurant was stopped thanks to a Good Samaritan who wrestled an armed man in northwest Atlanta.
Andre Nero said he came to the Arby’s on Howell Mill Road to get a quick bite to eat with his girlfriend last Thursday. He noticed a man in all black at the restaurant, so he kept his eye on him. Then, in three seconds, he realized he had to act fast.
“I knew I was faced with a decision. There was nothing but women in the store,” Nero told Channel 2’s Craig Lucie.
Nero is a personal trainer who works out five to seven days a week. He put his strength to the test Thursday when the armed man made a move that frightened everyone inside the restaurant.
“He lifted his hand to point at her and told her to shut up, but I knew something was going on,” Nero said.
Then, Nero said he saw a gun.
“I was the only guy, so I would rather sacrifice myself as opposed to everybody in the store getting hurt,” Nero said.
Nero said he leaped from a booth and put the robber in a choke hold, or sleeper hold.
“I brought my arm underneath and had him like this the whole time,” Nero said, doing a demonstration on Lucie.
Lucie told him he could see why the robber couldn’t move or speak because Nero was applying pressure on his throat. For seven to eight minutes, Nero had the man pinned down on the floor with his legs wrapped around him while they waited on police, he said.
“I tried to reposition my feet to wrap my legs around him, but my foot slipped, so I had to catch myself. In that instant, I lost him, so he got away,” explained Nero.
The robber took off through the Arby’s double doors, but no one was hurt.
“It was very high-risk, but you just never know. You could get hurt doing nothing as opposed to doing something about it and still get hurt,” Nero told Lucie.
Their struggle was captured on the restaurant's surveillance video, but the Arby’s corporate office told Channel 2 Action News it would not release the video per policy.
Police said they recovered the gun at the restaurant and are processing it to hopefully lift fingerprints.