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>>

  • Hundreds enjoy varieties of beers at LA Winter Beer Festival

    Hundreds enjoy varieties of beers at LA Winter Beer Festival

    Saturday, February 24 2018 9:37 PM EST2018-02-25 02:37:00 GMT
    (Source: Maranda Whittington/KPLC)(Source: Maranda Whittington/KPLC)
    (Source: Maranda Whittington/KPLC)(Source: Maranda Whittington/KPLC)
    All the beer one could ever want was in downtown Lake Charles Saturday.  The 4th annual Louisiana Winter Beer Festival brought in thousands of people ready to test out plenty of beer.  Beer from all over the world was in one place Saturday---downtown Lake Charles.   Nick Villaume/co-organizer "I want to highlight downtown that was really one of the reasons we started this was to be able to highlight what's going on downtown, and what a great downtown area w...More >>
    All the beer one could ever want was in downtown Lake Charles Saturday.  The 4th annual Louisiana Winter Beer Festival brought in thousands of people ready to test out plenty of beer.  Beer from all over the world was in one place Saturday---downtown Lake Charles.   Nick Villaume/co-organizer "I want to highlight downtown that was really one of the reasons we started this was to be able to highlight what's going on downtown, and what a great downtown area w...More >>
  • Silver Spurs Rodeo Club hosts youth rodeo in Sulphur

    Silver Spurs Rodeo Club hosts youth rodeo in Sulphur

    Saturday, February 24 2018 5:34 PM EST2018-02-24 22:34:48 GMT
    A 30 year tradition continues as the Silver Spurs Rodeo Club held their first youth rodeo of the year. Held at the West Cal Arena in Sulphur, kids can sign up for multiple events, including barrel, polls, stakes, and even mutton busting: where kids can ride the sheep. Edwin McCall, the Vice President of the Silver Spurs Rodeo Club, says that everyone is invited to come, watch, and enjoy the rodeo. "The neatest thing is the family environment. You know, we start out in the mornin...More >>
    A 30 year tradition continues as the Silver Spurs Rodeo Club held their first youth rodeo of the year. Held at the West Cal Arena in Sulphur, kids can sign up for multiple events, including barrel, polls, stakes, and even mutton busting: where kids can ride the sheep. Edwin McCall, the Vice President of the Silver Spurs Rodeo Club, says that everyone is invited to come, watch, and enjoy the rodeo. "The neatest thing is the family environment. You know, we start out in the mornin...More >>
  • BLACK HISTORY MONTH: Erik Tee

    BLACK HISTORY MONTH: Erik Tee

    Friday, February 23 2018 11:24 PM EST2018-02-24 04:24:34 GMT
    (Source: Maranda Whittington/KPLC)(Source: Maranda Whittington/KPLC)
    (Source: Maranda Whittington/KPLC)(Source: Maranda Whittington/KPLC)

    KPLC's Black History Month profiles wrap up with a man who has a voice for radio.  As a kid he called radio stations, he helped carry equipment and even started working a station for free starting out. But that persistence was all Erik Tee needed to help him make it in the world of radio.  Every car radio turned to 107.5 has probably heard that voice.  The voice of radio personality Erik Tee.   "This is my getaway," said Erik. "This is ...

    More >>

    KPLC's Black History Month profiles wrap up with a man who has a voice for radio.  As a kid he called radio stations, he helped carry equipment and even started working a station for free starting out. But that persistence was all Erik Tee needed to help him make it in the world of radio.  Every car radio turned to 107.5 has probably heard that voice.  The voice of radio personality Erik Tee.   "This is my getaway," said Erik. "This is ...

    More >>
Powered by Frankly