CORAL SPRINGS, FLA. (WSVN) - A crook didn’t know what was coming to him when he tried to rob a former pro wrestler at a Valero gas station.
Former WWE star Shad Gaspard hasn’t lost his touch after he stopped wrestling professionally. He later went on to become a bodyguard for Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, Britney Spears and Mike Tyson. “When people see me, they normally get intimidated at times,” he told 7News during a phone interview. “I’m not a bad guy. I’m a nice guy.”
It wasn’t until a man tried to rob the 6-foot-7, 280-pound former wrestler at a Coral Springs Valero gas station that his instincts kicked in, late Saturday night.
The suspect, 35-year-old Jason Felix, found himself in over his head. Surveillance footage shows him wearing a light colored long-sleeve shirt as he tries to get the attention of Gaspard, who is seen wearing a red shirt.
Speaking to 7News over the phone, Gaspard, who lives in California but was in South Florida to attend an event, said he had stopped at the gas station’s convenience store to buy some iced tea when Felix asked him to buy a beer. “This guy comes from the back of the store, and he goes, ‘Yo, man, buy me a beer,’ and I’m like, you know, I didn’t know the guy,” he said. “And I’m like, ‘Yo, man, there’s a better way to approach somebody.'”
According to a police report, Felix then became upset and approached Gaspard. “And so he started coming at me, and then he lifted up his shirt and showed me he had a gun,” Gaspard said.
Felix appeared to be carrying a black semi-automatic gun, but officials later learned that it was an air-powered BB gun.
Upon instinct, Gaspard acted quickly and grabbed the gun from Felix’s waistband, and that’s when the brawl ensued.
The clerk, Simon Silva, and a female customer were inside the store. “Shad grabbed [the gun], and then it crashed [on the floor], and pieces of it fell to the right of me, like not even a foot away from me,” said the customer.
Surveillance video from the front entrance to the convenience store shows the former wrestler grabbing Felix by the neck and shoving him out the door. “He was like, ‘Yo, give me the gun back. Give me right [expletive] now.’ He wasn’t listening so I grabbed him by the back of the neck, and I ran to the door,” said Gaspard. “When I ran to the door, I ran into the door hard as [expletive], trying to knock him out.”
Exterior video shows Gaspard tackling Felix near the store’s parking spaces. “When we got outside, I grabbed him in a rear choke, and I threw him off, and I put him on the ground,” said Gaspard. “I put his hands behind his back, put my knee on his wrist, so he couldn’t move them.”
Gaspard pinned the suspect until Coral Springs Police arrived on the scene.
“We took all the stuff from his pockets. We saw his phone. He had a picture of a little girl on his phone, so he’s the father,” said Gaspard. “I hope he gets right for his daughter, or whoever is in his life.”
Felix was then put into police custody and faced a judge Monday morning. During the hearing, it was confirmed that he is the father of three children.
“I hope he gets the help he needs. I hope he’s OK,” Gaspard said, “and I hope he never tries a stunt like this again.”
Felix was charged with one count of armed robbery and was held on $10,000 bond. He has since posted bond.
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