A good Samaritan in New York City is receiving high praise from law enforcement officials who are crediting him with stopping a man who brandished a semiautomatic rifle and handgun following a dispute with a bodega worker.
The good Samaritan, whose name was not disclosed by authorities, helped police nab 39-year-old Jason Fleming, who was taken into custody last week and charged with one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm, authorities announced.
According to a press release from the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, Fleming on the afternoon of March 16 entered a crowded bodega in the city’s Chelsea neighborhood where he got into a verbal altercation with an employee. Following the dispute, Fleming allegedly stood in the store’s doorway and “flashed a handgun” as a little girl attempted to leave.
“The child then ran away from the store when she was able to pass by Fleming onto the sidewalk,” the release states. “The surveillance video then shows Fleming outside the bodega and pulling back his coat momentarily to reveal a rifle that had been swung over his shoulder.”
After a witness called 911, police say they approached Fleming and he immediately took off running down the street.
As he was running from police, Fleming allegedly “brandished a semiautomatic carbine rifle in broad daylight while frightened civilians began running away from him,” according to prosecutors. Fleming then allegedly threw the rifle over a fence and into a restaurant where customers were dining outside.
Law enforcement officers later retrieved the firearm, which they said was a loaded semiautomatic Hi-Point carbine rifle.
Prosecutors say that after tossing the rifle, Fleming pulled out the revolver and continued to run down the street with the handgun in plain sight while officers continued their pursuit.
“A nearby civilian, seeing Fleming running down the street with a revolver in his hand, stood in Fleming’s way and pushed him into a nearby fence and then held onto him until police officers, who were still in pursuit, placed Fleming under arrest and handcuffed him,” prosecutors wrote.
The US Attorney’s Office provided video of the encounter, which appears to show an adult male civilian dressed in a long black coat standing in the middle of the sidewalk waiting for the approaching Fleming. When Fleming gets within a few feet of him, the man lunges out and body checks Fleming into a short iron fence lined with bushes. Somehow, both men stay on their feet, but the civilian grabs Fleming’s jacket and holds on to him as police arrive a few seconds later.
“As alleged, the defendant illegally brandished two loaded firearms in broad daylight on a Manhattan street, one of which was a carbine rifle, frightening numerous New Yorkers, including a child,” US Attorney Damian Williams said in a statement. “Thanks to our law enforcement partners and the heroic efforts of a Good Samaritan, the defendant was apprehended before he could hurt anyone, and his weapons are now off the streets.”
View the filed complaint and video below.
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