An 83-year-old great-grandfather took on robbers wielding hammers and a sawed-off shotgun when they tried to rob a bookmakers.
Denis O’Connor was sitting in the bookies in Cork, Ireland, when three robbers wearing balaclavas burst in, two trying to vault the counter to get to the safe, while a third threatened customers with what appeared to be a shotgun.
O’Connor’s fearless response was caught on CCTV footage, and quickly went viral.
Ignoring the man levelling the gun at him, O’Connor can be seen heading straight for one of the two assailants with hammers who are trying to get the manager, Tim Murphy, to open the safe.
O’Connor grapples briefly with him, gripping the arm holding the hammer, turning the man around and pushing him out from the shop counter.
The robber turns and flees, followed quickly by the man with the shotgun.
‘I Just Didn’t Think About What I Was Doing’
Spurred on by the bravery of the octogenarian, Murphy can be seen taking on the other robber, who also heads for the exit—but not before O’Connor appears to trip him and plant a foot in his backside on the way out.
“At first I thought it was a joke, a gimmick, but I quickly realised it was serious,” O’Connor told the Irish Sun.
“Tim the manager is a very nice young man and I just couldn’t just not help him. I ignored the fellow with the gun and I went behind the counter.”
“I just didn’t think about what I was doing. Sometimes you can just sit down and do nothing or you can stand up to people like these and that’s what I did,” O’Connor said.
“The two with the hammers had jumped in and were threatening Tim, the manager, and I decided to go and help him,” he said.
O’Connor is a father of five, with grandchildren and great-grandchildren, according to the Sun.
According to the The Irish Independent, O’Connor is 84, but the Sun and the Irish Examiner say he is 83.
O’Connor describes himself as being very fit, but said he had never been involved in violence or a robbery before.
‘Ye’re Cowards, Ye’re Total Cowards’
He said he has had a mixed reaction from his family—with some saying he shouldn’t have put his life in danger.
He said his wife didn’t really understand what had happened until she saw the video.
“I don’t think she was too pleased but she was proud of what I did,” O’Connor.
Murphy, manager of the Bar One bookmaker in Cork, told the Irish Examiner that O’Connor’s bravery spurred him into action.
“I was just being threatened by the two fellas with the hammers, Denis tackled one of them and I said I have to tackle this fella now.”
“I remember Denis just shouting, ‘Ye’re cowards, ye’re total cowards,'” saod Murphy. “Denis is a total hero and when I saw him taking one of them on he inspired me.”
O’Connor’s friends said his actions “was typical of him.”
“He wouldn’t stand by while anyone was in trouble—he’s an absolute gentleman. It was typical of him,” one local told the Irish Independent.
Credit: Bar One Racing via Storyful