In the middle of an armed robbery of a Tulsa, Okla., grocery store by a man wearing a Batman mask, one customer leaped into action, charging, wrestling and subduing the gunman until police arrived.
A surveillance video captured several minutes of the struggle as the customer, Craig Stutzman, single-handedly wrestled the robber across the store before finally pinning the phony Batman to the ground in the store’s parking lot.
Video of the violent wrestling match, courtesy of KOTV-TV of Tulsa, can be seen below:
Stutzman, 44, an American Airlines mechanic, had stopped at the Food Pyramid store to buy some dog food before leaving town for a family reunion, according to a Tulsa World report. While he was shopping, a man entered the store wearing a Batman mask over the upper portion of his face and a red bandanna over the lower.
The robber, Tony Leroy Cleveland, waved a loaded gun at customers and store employees, herding them to the front of the store.
According to Tulsa police reports, when a customer ducked behind a counter, Cleveland fired the gun, missing the customer’s head by mere inches.
The gun then jammed, and that’s when Stutzman seized his opportunity.
“It took me a few seconds to register that we might have an opportunity here,” Stutzman told Tulsa World. “From there, it just happened. It started in the store and ended outside. Everything else was a blur.”
While other customers watched in fear, Stutzman endured pistol whips from the gunman, suffering a badly bruised jaw, scrapes and other injuries. As the battle moved through the entryway and into the parking lot, other customers eventually came to his aid, just seconds before squad cars arrived to apprehend the robber.
Stutzman told the Tulsa paper, “You know, it just happened. There’s no big thing about it.”
Tulsa Police Sgt. Dave Welker, however, contended that without Stutzman’s determined intervention, Cleveland would likely have escaped.
According to jail records, Cleveland – who had served 10 years for a previous armed robbery conviction – has been arrested on complaints of shooting with intent to kill, assault with a deadly weapon, robbery with a firearm, wearing a mask in the commission of a felony and possessing a firearm after a felony conviction.
Cleveland is currently in the Tulsa Jail with bail set at $310,000.