OAKLAND PARK, FLA. (WSVN) - A group of spring breakers were caught on camera fighting back during an attempted armed robbery at an Oakland Park gas station.
Deputies are searching for a man who attempted to rob the group in the area of Northwest Ninth Avenue and West Oakland Park Boulevard, early Sunday morning.
He was armed with a gun when he approached a group of family members vacationing from Terre Haute, Indiana, demanding valuable items as they pumped gas.
Surveillance video captured the moment the victims grabbed the gunman and tackled him to the ground when another person approached them and attempted to push them off of Campbell.
One victim was able to pick up the gun after the altercation, which then led the two men to flee the scene.
The four family members were in town from Indiana, celebrating Alec Tanoos’ 21st birthday.
“He came up to me, and it didn’t seem real,” Alec Tanoos said. “I faced this way, and he puts [the gun] right in my rib area, and I just put my hands up and tried to get out of the way.”
“I feel like I was the most responsible one. I’m the oldest one here,” said Jacob Tanoos. “It’s my little brother. He approached him with a gun, and I wasn’t going to let that happen at all.”
Tanoos went on to describe how he got in between the gunman and his brother. “I grabbed the gun and tried to move it just kinda up, away from my head, his head, anybody really, just in case he pulls the trigger, so maybe it can go in the air,” he said.
He said though his actions seemed brave, he was constantly aware of the danger he and his family were in. “I was just waiting to hear a gunshot go off the whole time, that was really all that was going through my mind,” Tanoos said. “I was just trying to protect my family, protect myself as much as I could.”
Surveillance video captured Alex Wisbey, Tanoos’ cousin, grabbing the suspect from behind and around the neck.
The suspect’s accomplice then came up and pushed Jacob Tanoos from behind, but meanwhile Whisbey remained on the ground with one of the suspects in a chokehold.
Then, video showed Eric Whisbey grabbing the gun from the suspect’s grasp.
“Once I raise the gun, they both took off back to their car, and then we were just screaming,” Eric Whisbey said. “I mean, the only thing running through your mind is protect your family.”
Once the tables were turned, the suspects tried to talk with the family.
“He was asking me to calm down and to give him the gun back and just to chill out, like, we weren’t just held at gunpoint or anything,” Eric Whisbey said. “Those guys, those are sons of somebody. Those are fathers of somebody.”
“At no point ever should violence be an option,” Alex Whisbey said. “He doesn’t deserve his life to be taken just because of a situation. I knew there was a possibility I could be shot and killed. I knew that. That’s my family, you know. We die for each other, and that’s how it’s always gonna be.”
“I’m very thankful for all these guys,” Alec Tanoos said. “That could’ve been a very bad 21st birthday.”
Shortly after the duo left empty-handed, authorities spotted 33-year-old Kevin Campbell outside of a home leaning against a car.
He fled from Fort Lauderdale police before K-9 units found him hiding in a bush.
He faces several charges including robbery with a firearm and resisting an officer and is being held on a $10,100 bond.
Deputies are still searching for the gunman who first approached the group.
The gun that was used in the attempted robbery was said to also have been used in a burglary from 2017.
If you have any information on this attempted robbery, call Broward County Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a $3,000 reward.
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