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Iraq war vet thwarts store robbery

Sep. 4, 2013 - 04:46PM   |  
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The guy with a gun picked the wrong clerk.

How wrong?

A veteran of four tours in Iraq. A 30-year military man. A former prison guard, private investigator, professional extraditor of federal prisoners and — most important on this particular Sunday night — a proud owner of a Walther PPX 9 mm handgun.

Loaded, with one in the chamber, like he always carries it.

Jon Lewis Alexander, 54, of Marionville, thwarted a robbery about 9 p.m. Sunday at Beer 30 on East Logan Street in Marionville — after the would-be robber pulled his weapon first.

As a store security video shows, Alexander used his left hand to push the robber’s handgun back while — in a smooth but rapid motion — pulling and swinging his 9 mm into the robber’s face. The man’s mouth to be exact, as the robber haplessly holds his own weapon at his side.

“One of the policemen told me later, ‘You’re a lucky man,’ ” Alexander said Monday. “I said, ‘I think he (the robber) is a little luckier than I am.’ ”

The store’s owners, Max and Jeannine Dawson, shared an 11-second video from the store security camera with Marionville police, friends and the News-Leader on Monday, and Alexander explained what happened. No one was hurt and no shots fired.

The man came in the store smoking a cigarette, and Alexander said he quickly explained that was against the rules. Within seconds, the man in a gray T-shirt was at the counter, demanding “all the (expletive deleted) money.”

In less than three seconds, as Alexander threw out a couple of expletives of his own and threatened to “blow his (expletive deleted) head off,” the man is seen in the video backing away, his own firearm still at his side.

“He didn’t even bother holstering his weapon” as he quickly left the store, Alexander said.

Asked about Alexander’s actions, Max Dawson said, “I think it’s a great thing,” explaining that in this particular situation Alexander took actions that appeared safe. However, Dawson said he’s been a victim of burglary so many times in four years that he believes bad guys deserve to be shot. “I think they all ought to be put away — permanently.”

Alexander, who was injured while in the Army in Iraq and went on to do several other jobs often described as high-risk, said he remained calm during the attempted robbery. He said he didn’t fire because the man never got his weapon pointed at him. “If I had seen the actual barrel of the gun, I would have pulled the trigger,” he said.

“My life wasn’t threatened.”

Marionville police did not return a call for comment about the incident. Dawson said he has been given an police report incident number and a sergeant’s name to follow up with. The video has been turned over to police, Alexander said.

Alexander gave police a detailed description of the gunman, right down to the tattoos on his arms and his “light blue or hazel eyes.” He put the man with blondish-red hair in his late 20s or early 30s. He might have even given police some better evidence, by pushing the barrel of his gun to the man’s mouth. Police swabbed his pistol for DNA, he said.

A store employee for only several months, Alexander and his wife, Pam, are recent transplants to Marionville. He said he has also worked in armed patrol for Midwest Security in the Ozarks and has lived in Rogersville and Seymour. He’s also lived in Ohio.

He said he didn’t tell his wife what happened right away but she eventually saw the video. “It took her a while to calm down,” he said. “But I got all kinds of lovin’ when she came home.”

Alexander said police hope for a quick arrest. As for him, he seems simultaneously nonplused and excited by the whole event, the latter because of possible high public interest in the video.

He plans to get the footage to the NRA.

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