||12-10-2009 12:47 PM
and training saved this guy's life.
Lucky Dog vendor, threatened, puts Marine training to work | New Orleans Metro Crime and Courts News - - NOLA.com
Knife wielding robber chooses a Marine to try and rob. Marine kicks his ass in a manner that would make most action movie stars jealous, all is right with the world for a moment.
Roy Lee Gant, a Lucky Dog vendor in the French Quarter, may look like an easy mark for an armed robber.
He wears a candy-cane-striped button-up shirt. He wheels around sausage and condiments to sell in a 1,200-pound cart shaped like a ballpark wiener, opting to make ends meet in the manner of Ignatius J. Reilly in "A Confederacy of Dunces."
None of that oozes toughness. But Gant is a former U.S. Marine, trained in hand-to-hand combat. And a 42-year-old man accused of attempting to rob Gant at knifepoint the night of Dec. 5 found that out too late, New Orleans police say.
Gant, 35, a St. Louis native, peddled his Lucky Dogs from the corner of Royal and Iberville streets about 9 p.m. that night, a Saturday. A man strolled up to his cart and asked him for a dollar.
Gant declined, thinking, "Hell, no. I've hardly sold a hot dog, yet you want money -- when you can be out here working the same as I am?"
The 5-foot-8, 155-pound man then shoved his face closely to Gant's and said, "If you don't give me a dollar, I'm going to take it."
Gant declined again. The two shoved each other. The man, miffed, walked away.
According to a police report filed in court, the man returned to the street corner about 11:50 p.m. He drew a knife, stood alongside Gant, reached across his body and with his right hand pressed the blade's edge against the vendor's throat, hissing, "Remember me?"
This time, the panhandler demanded all the money, Gant said.
Gant, however, had seen the man walk next to him out of the corner of his eye. The knifeman had barely pressed the blade against the wiener vendor's throat when Gant lifted his right arm. He grabbed the man's right wrist and pulled the blade away.
Then, with his left arm, he gripped the knifeman's forearm to push the blade farther away. He freed his right hand.
"Call the police!" Gant shouted to a crowd of people streaming into a nearby drug store. "Please, call the police!"
The two wrestled. While struggling to keep the blade at bay with his left hand, Gant elbowed and punched his attacker's body and face with his right arm and hand.
Gant sensed the robber lose his balance. He reached for the man's crotch and lifted him up, still holding onto one of his arms with his left hand.
Gant then slammed the robber face-first off the curb, gashing his attacker's forehead wide open.
"He definitely messed with the wrong Lucky Dog guy," said Joni Mount, Gant's girlfriend and fellow vendor. "Why did he even come back? How stupid is he?"
Gant kicked the blade away from the robber's grasp and pinned him face-down with his arms and knees. A bystander waved down a passing police cruiser.
By the time the officer pulled up to investigate, the knifeman had passed out, the report stated. Paramedics later arrived and took the accused robber, identified as Gregory S. Garmany of the 1800 block of Gravier Street, to Interim LSU Public Hospital for stitches.
Gant, meanwhile, tore a ligament in his right pinky and later scheduled a surgery.
When doctors released the swollen-eyed, scraped-up Garmany, officers booked him with one count of attempted armed robbery, according to the report. He remained behind bars Wednesday in lieu of $50,000 bail.
Police officials routinely discourage citizens from resisting armed robbers because of the risk. But Gant said he reacted "instinctively." He learned the basics of hand-to-hand combat while at Camp Pendleton, Calif., with his Marine battalion.
"My reaction was just to defend myself," Gant said.
It was Gant's second brush with crime since he moved to New Orleans from St. Louis in February, originally in search of work on tugboats. He sold hot dogs in the 400 block of Bourbon Street the night of Nov. 29, when five men were sprayed with bullets after an argument.
Despite his lackluster welcome to the city, Gant said he had no immediate plans to abandon his tugboat work or his spot behind the Lucky Dog cart.
He said, "I try not to think about (the danger). ... People just need to keep their eyes open."