When a man with a large hunting knife entered a convenience store, he pushed the customer at the counter aside. Little did the robber know he was messing with a firefighter and former marine, who then showed the crook he was making a big mistake.
A would-be robber believed a large knife would give him the upper hand as he committed a crime at a convenience store in Texas. Firefighter and former Marine Daniel Gaskey was waiting at the counter at the Exxon Oasis Food Store in Midlothian when a masked man wielding a hunting knife put his hand on his shoulder to push him aside.
In that split second, the Marine veteran assessed the situation and says his instincts kicked in. “My initial thought is ‘Why are you touching me? Why are you pushing me out of the way?’” recounted Gaskey, who served as an intelligence Marine from 2003–2011, before becoming a firefighter.
At that point, Gaskey puts his hands up and pauses for a moment. “I took a step away to see what’s going on,” continued Gaskey, who said that the robber, identified as 19-year-old Dylan Bearden, then brandished a fix-blade knife and told the cashier: “This will go quick and easy, I’m just here for the money.” This is when the Marine veteran decided to make his move.
According to Gaskey, Bearden had his back to him, and the clerk was far enough away from the knife that a stray swing wouldn’t hit her. “He was completely ignoring me, so after that, it was an instinctive reaction,” Gaskey said. “I realized he wasn’t giving me a second thought or paying attention…so immediately reacted, jumped on his back, took control of the weapon. Took him off balance, rolled him to the ground,” the firefighter told Fox4 News.
In the video, you can see Gaskey size Bearden up before springing into action. The former Marine throws his arm around the robber’s neck and has him on the ground in a matter of seconds. Gaskey then pins him down and removes the knife from his possession, Task & Purpose reported. The encounter was over quickly.
Gaskey explained what was going on in his mind as he made his move. “I’m going to maintain control of the weapon, but if I miss the weapon, I’m going to be so close to his back he won’t be able to maneuver his arm around to move me in the process,” the Texan said. “After I got the knife away and was holding him down, I was able to talk to him very calmly.”
According to Fox4 News, police arrived on the scene and arrested 19-year-old Dylan Bearden and charged him with aggravated robbery, a first-degree felony. Many are calling the former Marine a hero. “I’m not,” he said. “I like to think anyone else in that situation would assess and do the right thing, too. Sometimes doing what’s right involves getting a license plate number of someone driving away.”
However, what speaks volumes about this man’s values is his one worry: being late to work. “His battalion chief said, ‘Hey, Daniel was running late to work,’” said Fire Chief Barry Bondurant. “He was all worried about it, and then we found out he had intervened in an armed robbery while he was getting some coffee.”
“I’ve been praying for him,” Gaskey said. The firefighter also explained why he chose to intervene in a dangerous situation. “I’ve always had a protective nature,” he said. However, Gaskey also lives by a moral code that explains his career choices. “I’ve always been someone who was willing to stand up for what’s right, and that’s what took me into the Marine Corps,” he said.
When asked what led him to not one, but two careers in public service, he said: “Coming out of the Marine Corps, I didn’t see myself doing any job for the rest of my life, and I knew I’d either be a cop or a firefighter.” Indeed, Daniel Gaskey is a hero who is no stranger to putting his life on the line to protect and serve the community in which he lives.