“Big knife. Fake gun. Optimus Prime mask. Oh, yeah. I’m ready.”
Ryan Flores must have been thinking something along these lines before trying to rob a Fresno, Ca., Starbucks last Thursday. But the 30 year old quickly discovered that wearing an Optimus Prime mask and being as badass as Optimus Prime are two very different things.
It didn’t take long before Flores caught the attention of another Starbucks customer, 58-year-old Cregg Jerri. In the video, Jerri watches Flores threaten the barista for a few moments before launching into an impersonation of his own: the Undertaker circa 2002.
Jerri picks up a chair and brings it down across the back of Flores’ head, knocking his mask to the floor. Jerri hits Flores once more with the chair before the two men start wrestling over Flores’ knife, which he is still holding in his hand.
Jerri puts Flores in a headlock as the pair move away from the counter and into the seating area. Jerri wrestles Flores to the ground and begins punching him in an effort to subdue him.
“There’s probably not very many people in America who would do what Cregg Jerri did last night,” Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said Friday, according to KSEE-TV. “It was incredibly heroic and the way most people would think that they would respond but may not have the courage to respond.”
But despite the calm demeanor of one of the Starbucks employees, who continues wiping a table even after the fight begins, this altercation was inches away from turning fatal.
While it’s difficult to see in the video, investigators later discovered that Flores had stabbed Jerri once in the neck before the older man was able to take the knife away. Jerri had also stabbed Flores several times before the would-be robber made his escape.
Jerri required six staples to mend his stab wound, but he is resting and expected to make a full recovery, according to KSEE-TV.
Officers found Flores later that day, according to ABC 30. He admitted to his crime and was treated for his injuries. He was in critical but stable condition as of July 21, 2017.
“It’s not something we recommend,” Dyer said of Jerri’s decision to intervene. “In this case it was a good outcome– no one died as a result of this incident, but very well could have. But nonetheless, he’s a hero– there’s no question.”