Man with Fake Leg Trips Robber

April 3, 2011 Updated: April 3, 2011

Steve Cornell lost his leg when he was 12, but that didn’t stop him from taking on an armed robber at a local convenience store.

A regular of the convenience store in Middleton, Mass., Cornell was outside using the ATM last Wednesday night when he looked in the window and saw a robbery taking place.

A masked man had owner Edson Andrade at gunpoint and would have gotten away had Cornell not stuck out his prosthetic leg and tripped him.

Cornell had the prosthetic leg for decades. He lost his leg at the age of 12 trying to jump on a freight train.

"I just reacted," said Cornell, a 55-year-old father of two, to the Salem News. "I said, 'OK, I'll just wait,' and when he tries to come out of the store, I was going to jump him. He just came out so fast I tripped him, and he tripped me and I fell, and he fell."

The robber stumbled and fell allowing Andrade to rush out from behind the counter to chase him. Several shots were fired as the suspect ran away from the store. Andrade caught up and tackled him to the ground. Cornell arrived moments later to help.

Andrade had the suspect pinned down in a headlock and Cornell stood on his legs until police arrived.

According to police the weapon was recovered and turned out to be a .177-caliber air pellet pistol.

The suspect was identified as Eric Homen, a 23-year-old resident of Peabody, Mass. Homen has been charged with armed robbery and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.

According to Cornell, his first thought was to tackle Homen as he ran out of the store, but he wound up tripping him instead.