Would be ninja shot down in Florida grocery store: AKA don't bring a sword to a gunfight

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In the 'only in Florida' section of the defensive gun use blotter, a heroic security guard in a Little Havana grocery store faced down a modern day swordsman who came looking for a special deal in the ten items or less line.

The incident

(Screenshot NBC6 Miami)

It was a normal Wednesday night at the quiet Presidente Supermarket at 500 SW Eighth Street in the Little Havana portion of Miami. Then around 10pm a man, later identified as 43-year-old Hector Rivaflecha Hechavarria, walked in, and pulled out a sword.

Yes, a sword.

Hechavarria, then allegedly made death threats to random customers until the store's security guard, 47-year-old Jose Antionio Mendoza, intervened. According to reports it was Hechavarria who escalated the situation and attacked not only the guard who was doing his job, but also Ninoska Aranglubel, 32, a customer at the store.

It was then that Mendoza drew his weapon and fired repeatedly at the Little Havana samurai who apparently was never coached about bringing a knife, no matter its size, to a gunfight.

Local police arrived on the scene to find the suspect in custody.

The outcome

Suspect Hector Rivaflecha Hechavarria (Screenshot via CBS Miami).

Both Mendoza and Hechavarria, who has a prior criminal history, were transported to the hospital for treatment. The swordsman, who is in critical condition, is charged with one count of murder/premeditated/attempt/with a deadly weapon (sword), while the guard is in stable condition and considered to be a hero.

"He put his life in danger," said Officer Reyes of the Miami Police Department of Mendoza. "As a matter of fact, he got struck over the head by this armed man and still he managed to grab his gun, ask him to drop the weapon but he refused and he was forced to fire."

Even customers praised Mendoza saying, ""He was doing his job," Andreas Fernandez said. "What else can I say? He was doing his job and he did it well."

In Florida, home to more than a million CCW holders, getting a security guard permit for a firearm is cut and dry. To obtain a license you have to be resident citizen with a good background, apply for a $87 Class D Guard License, and pass a minimum of 40 hours of professional training by a Security Officer School or Training Facility licensed by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

There are some 134,266 guards with these firearms permits in the state.

Not the first time

Oddly enough this is not the first time something like this has happened.

In 2003 in California, where gun laws are much more strict than in Florida, a man ran amok in an Albertsons in Irvine, "Wearing a green beret and a long, dark coat, the Santa Ana man pulled out a sword with a 3-foot blade and calmly attacked in silence, almost beheading one of his victims. As he roamed the store, employees armed with barbecue utensils, mayonnaise jars and trashcan lids tried to corner him."

Ten minutes into the melee and after two were killed and three injured by the swordsman, local police arrived on the scene and shot the murderer down.

In the UK, where guns are banned for self-defense by both security guards and the public, in 2008 a pair of robbers armed with a samurai sword beat a defenseless grandfather, leaving him bloodied and abused in their wake.

It's painfully obvious that we need more Jose Antionio Mendoza's in the world.

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February 25, 2014  •  12:01 PM
or less swords, wait, more sword control laws