Eric Wasson was seated just inside the entrance to Johnny Baby’s when surveillance footage caught his fellow security guard eyeballing something so scary making its way into the St. Paul, Minn., bar that she turned and ran.
It was a man with gun in his right hand.
Video shows Wasson, who was wearing sunglasses, noticing his partner’s fright, standing up and then coming face-to-face with the gunman.
“I can’t run,” Wasson told the St. Paul Pioneer Press, recalling the incident last Sept. 21. “I have to do something.”
Wanting to protect the 150-plus crowd inside the bar, Wasson said he first attempted to diffuse the situation by smiling at the gunman and saying, “Hey, what’s going on?” and suggesting he calm down.
The gunman told Wasson to move and raised the pistol.
That’s when the burly bouncer took further action.
“I just got off, I just hit him, I just rushed him,” he told the Pioneer Press. “God is good.”
A reported two shots were fired during the struggle, which Wasson appeared to dominate as he’s seen disarming the gunman, slamming him into a wall, and taking him to the sidewalk until a couple of men follow Wasson out of Johnny Baby’s to help.
No one was struck by the bullets, and the gunman was later convicted in federal court.
Because of his heroic actions, Wasson received the Chief’s Award for Valor — the highest award a citizen can receive from St. Paul police.
“Mr. Wasson, you were indeed a hero that evening,” Chief Thomas Smith told Wasson at the Wednesday ceremony. “We don’t know what that suspect may have done if he was allowed inside of the bar. … You displayed a great amount of courage when you chose to disarm the suspect and protect the customers in the bar.”
Smith had a special request for Wasson’s children, ages 4 and 9, who were at the award ceremony: “Be very proud of your daddy.”