FEDERAL WAY - “I’m fighting the guy for the gun," says Roberto Sandoval, describing in detail his ordeal and heroics from last Friday morning in downtown Seattle, when he took down a suspected jewelry store robber.
The heist, complete with gunfire, happened at the Express Jewelry store in Westlake Center, the downtown shopping mall. Sandoval works as a bellman at the adjacent Mayflower Park Hotel.
Somebody yelled something to the effect of, “Get that guy,” and Sandoval found himself in pursuit.
Knowing what he knows now, Sandoval doesn’t know if he would do it again. He doesn’t know the suspect - identified as 35-year-old Edmond Maynor - has a gun. He didn’t hear the shots fired in the mall.
The chase goes on for blocks, then Sandoval catches up. He says the masked suspect shows the gun.
“He pulled out the gun and he’s shooting," said Sandoval. “And in one of those shots, my hand is moving like that.”
He gestures with his good arm. He’d been shot about a third of the way up his forearm. The bullet is still in there, and Sandoval doesn’t yet know when doctors will remove it.
After he gets the man on the ground, bystanders started helping. Sandoval pulled off the suspect’s mask, and grabbed the gun after it jammed. But not before Sandoval was pistol whipped in his left ear, requiring stitches.
After bystanders and the security detail from the nearby Federal Courthouse took over, Sandoval could step away. He said he was exhausted. He figured he’d been shot, but didn't realize where. Then he saw blood coming from his sleeve.
“I know I’m dead with the guy shooting. I was scared so much,” he said.
He thought of his family. But Sandoval never backed down, and many consider him a hero. But like many heroes, Sandoval can’t quite get his head around the concept as it applies to himself. “Hero? I don’t know, what does hero mean?”
A fund is set up at the Mayflower Park Hotel to help cover medical expenses. He does not yet know when he will be able to go back to work, but says he hopes it’s soon.