A Missouri teacher has been praised for helping stop an attempted shoplifting over the weekend.
T.J. Barnet walked into the Price Chopper in Independence when he heard raised voices. He knew something was wrong.
He then came upon two store employees struggling to put a man in handcuffs.
“I could tell he was kind of resisting fighting back and trying to get out of their grasp. There were two of them but he was a bigger guy and so I figured I would walk my way over there and see if there was anything I could do to help,” Barnet told KSHB.
As he approached, the teacher saw a female employee uncomfortably holding a gun that had been confiscated from the man, and the man’s accomplice was going for it.
In a tense moment, local teacher steps up to stop a crime https://t.co/e7xXGP9hZ3
— Cara Harker (@mrsharker) March 21, 2018
That’s when Barnet knew he had to act.
“At that moment, I thought, ‘I don’t think I want him to have this gun,’” Barnet said.
“I just kind of grabbed him by the chest and I just drove him backwards. We hit one of those sliding glass doors and it fell off the hinges and then we just came down to the ground and I landed on top of him.”
He added, “I crawled up and just sat on his stomach and pinned one of his shoulders down to the ground and said, ‘we’re not going to get up until the cops get here,” he said.
Just minutes later, Independence police officers arrived and detained the suspect.
Barnet, a big superhero fan, was lauded by his students at Truman High School for what he did.
— 41 Action News (@41actionnews) March 21, 2018
The Examiner reported that the news had made its way to school by Monday, where it was a hot topic.
“I’ve told the story about 30 times,” Barnet said. “The students were trying to ask without saying it. ‘Did anything cool happen this weekend? Did you go grocery shopping?’”
Barnet said that while his wife couldn’t help but think of what might have happened, given that he has a second child on the way, he was compelled to act.
“She was happy but not happy,” he said, “but at the same time, what if I didn’t do something?”