MIDLAND, Tx. (KOSA) Some community members are calling a Midland man a hero after he disarmed a robber at a Chick-Fil-A restaurant.
Midland resident Brandon Castaneda, 24, was sitting in the drive through line with his mother Tuesday night at the restaurant located off Wall Street in Midland. Castaneda said he heard a female employee cry out after a man walked up to the outdoor cashier kiosk.
“It almost sounded like they were playing. And I looked into my rearview mirror and then her voice got very distressed. It was just distressful, it was a distressful noise, it was asking for help without actually asking for help. You get me? And everything from there was very instinctive,” he said.
Castaneda opened his car door, kicked off his sandals, and ran toward the cries.
“I was a couple steps away I can see him and he turned toward the employees and he had a gun in his hand. I got super close, and I grabbed his hand and the gun at the same time with one hand, and I wrapped around him with the other. And I just, I was close enough to him where I had a really good grip on it and my body was just close so he couldn’t turn around. So with the momentum we just kind of rolled right into that truck that was right there. And he didn’t fight me too much on it. As soon as we hit the truck we scuffled a little bit and he just let it go,” he said.
The robbery suspect ran off, leaving the gun in Castaneda’s hands.
“I thought about chasing him, but that was the main danger to everybody at that moment was just the gun itself,” he said.
Castaneda then looked at the gun, and realized it was loaded.
“And so I opened it up, and I saw that it was loaded. And it brought a very sinking feeling to my stomach, just knowing that this thing was loaded and that was six bullets that could have been six people,” he said.
The man credits his quick actions during the encounter to his Muay Thai training and kick boxing training.
“Training 100 percent had me confident. I was cool under that sense because my body just reacted. There was no more than 30 seconds that it all happened, but through that whole 30 seconds I was living like a year in my life, know what I mean?” he said.
The professional fighter said he has always prayed to God for courage. Castaneda said he hopes community members can be inspired to look out for each other.
“I believe that if you genuinely believe with your whole heart, God is going to take care of you. And I just believe that wholeheartedly,” he said.
Castaneda said like many community members, he passively thought ‘it will never happen to me.’ The Midlander said he hopes other community members will take up training, or carry pepper spray or a license to carry a firearm, so they can protect themselves and others.
The Midland Police Department said the robbery suspect is still at-large. The suspect is described as a black man who is about 5'6". The suspect was last seen wearing all black clothes and a hoodie.