Retired US Army lieutenant, off-duty firefighter detain armed robbery suspect at Modesto bar

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MODESTO, Calif. (KTXL) -- An off-duty fire captain and a retired Army lieutenant are being hailed heroes after the Modesto Police Department reports the two wrestled an armed robber to the ground at a bar Monday night.

“Just a quiet night in Modesto,” Modesto Fire Capt. John Walker said.

What happened next caught the two strangers off-guard.

“See the guy standing outside the restaurant, wrapping his sweatshirt around his head, so, OK, that’s odd,” retired Army Lt. Derek Hudson said.

“Instantly knew that gut instinct that this was a serious situation and something wasn’t right,” Walker said.

The men said an armed man shot at the ceiling inside The Tap Room. While most saw it as a warning, Hudson said he saw beyond the trick.

“I could tell it was an airsoft or a pellet gun at that point,” Hudson said.

That’s when Hudson, also a retired stuntman, said he saw his chance.

“(There was a) couple sitting right here, so we kinda struggled for the gun, but I was trying not to point it at them, then we went to the ground,” he told FOX40.

Walker then tackled the robber.

“Don’t think it’s any sort of heroism or anything at that point,” Walker said. “I think it’s just reacting in a situation to make things better.”

The Modesto Police Department said officers were able to take 18-year-old Justyn Wesson into custody. Investigators said prior to this attempted robbery, Wesson had robbed these three nearby businesses.

A clerk told FOX40 off-camera that he recognized Wesson as not only a familiar face, but also someone who lives nearby.

Now, Hudson and Walker — the reluctant heroes who are not into titles — could be called newfound friends.

“We’re getting there, yeah, seems like it,” Hudson said. “We’ll probably hang out.”

Investigators said Wesson is facing robbery and attempted robbery charges.

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