Fencing coach uses sword to foil robbery at shopping center - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Fencing coach uses sword to foil robbery at Bellevue shopping center

Franco Scaramuzza Franco Scaramuzza
NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

A fencing instructor foiled a robbery this week, and he was even dressed to do battle as he chased down the suspected thieves.

Franco Scaramuzza said he always tries to be aware of his surroundings, so when the crime unfolded right in front of him Tuesday in Bellevue, he knew he had one choice.

Scaramuzza was pulling into the shopping center near the corner of Highway 70 South and Old Hickory Boulevard when he saw two men use pepper spray against a couple, then steal a purse.

"The first thing that went through my head is somebody should do something, and that's when I got really upset and disappointed with myself, because I realized I had the opportunity to do something. And I didn't want to be a hypocrite who just tweeted about it," Scaramuzza said.

Scaramuzza then jumped out of his car, grabbed his fencing sword, called an épée, and started charging toward the suspects.

The good Samaritan said he's been training his whole life for moments just like this. And, as a fencing coach, he knows how to intimidate.

He had just finished practice Tuesday, so he was already on guard with the full outfit and épée in hand.

"I charged towards them, holding my épée up high, and, you know, yelling at them," he said. "I kept yelling throughout the entire thing. They completely panicked and dropped everything they stole and really took off."

Police showed up and caught the suspects within minutes. Michael Butt and Zachary Johnson are charged with robbery.

And Scaramuzza said he won this bout using the same lessons he teaches in fencing class.

"You have to overcome your own fears," he said.

And it only takes a split second to switch from defense to offense.

"You have to make decisions in a very quick amount of time," Scaramuzza said. "Fencing, you can do it without the weapon. It happens in your mind, and that's how you try to make the right choices."

Butt and Johnson remain jailed on $50,000 bond each. Johnson's girlfriend tells Channel 4 News her boyfriend didn't do it and contends police picked up the wrong guy.

Copyright 2013 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

  • Fencing coach uses sword to foil robbery at Bellevue shopping centerMore>>

  • More Local NewsNewsMore>>

  • Missing Iowa teen found

    Missing Iowa teen found

    Tuesday, March 28 2017 5:42 PM EDT2017-03-28 21:42:13 GMT
    Gavin Blake Beazer (Source: Iowa Police Department)Gavin Blake Beazer (Source: Iowa Police Department)

    An Iowa teen reported missing over a month ago has been found, his mother confirmed. Gavin Blake Beazer, 16, was reported missing in mid-February. His mother first posted that he was found on Friday.  Copyright 2017 KPLC. All rights reserved.

    More >>

    An Iowa teen reported missing over a month ago has been found, his mother confirmed. Gavin Blake Beazer, 16, was reported missing in mid-February. His mother first posted that he was found on Friday.  Copyright 2017 KPLC. All rights reserved.

    More >>
  • Louisiana Railroad Days Festival set for April 6-8

    Louisiana Railroad Days Festival set for April 6-8

    Tuesday, March 28 2017 5:32 PM EDT2017-03-28 21:32:07 GMT
    DeQuincy Railroad Museum (Source: Facebook)DeQuincy Railroad Museum (Source: Facebook)

    The Louisiana Railroad Days Festival begins April 6 at the DeQuincy Railroad Museum.

    More >>

    The Louisiana Railroad Days Festival begins April 6 at the DeQuincy Railroad Museum.

    More >>
  • BREAKING

    Marsh fire near Grand Chenier believed to be cause of smoky haze over area

    Marsh fire near Grand Chenier believed to be cause of smoky haze over area

    Tuesday, March 28 2017 5:31 PM EDT2017-03-28 21:31:51 GMT
    (Source: KPLC SkyCam)(Source: KPLC SkyCam)

    A marsh fire near Grand Chenier in Cameron Parish is believed to be the cause of smoke in the area. Several viewers have reported the smell of smoke and a haze. The same conditions are present near KPLC's office downtown. Dick Gremillion, head of Calcasieu OEP, said that radar is showing what appears to be a marsh fire in Grand Chenier and that wind conditions are favorable to push the smoke into Calcasieu. Copyright 2017 KPLC. All rights reserved.

    More >>

    A marsh fire near Grand Chenier in Cameron Parish is believed to be the cause of smoke in the area. Several viewers have reported the smell of smoke and a haze. The same conditions are present near KPLC's office downtown. Dick Gremillion, head of Calcasieu OEP, said that radar is showing what appears to be a marsh fire in Grand Chenier and that wind conditions are favorable to push the smoke into Calcasieu. Copyright 2017 KPLC. All rights reserved.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly