He was supposed to be making an early morning bread delivery, but truck driver Joseph Chilton delivered some heroics instead when he stumbled upon an armed robbery in progress at a Georgia fast-food restaurant, authorities said.
Trouble was already underway when Chilton arrived at a Hardee’s restaurant in the Atlanta suburb of Ellenwood about 6:30 a.m. on Saturday and spotted terrified employees running out a back door, according to the Clayton County Sheriff’s Office.
When Chilton realized a pistol-wielding man was allegedly holding up the business, he ran back to his truck and grabbed his gun, authorities said.
The suspect, identified as Damario Kentrell Parrish, “had jumped across the counter and pointed a weapon at a female employee demanding cash,” according to a statement from the sheriff’s office.
As the robber attempted to make a getaway, Chilton confronted him and a gunfight erupted, leaving the alleged crook wounded and limping off into a wooded residential area, where sheriff’s deputies cornered him in a house, according to the sheriff’s department.
“The bread man put his gun up. The robber put his gun up and the bread man shot him four times. “His [the suspect’s] car was here, but he was able to stumble off into the woods,” Keysa Roberts, the manager of the Hardee’s, told ABC affiliate station WSB-TV in Atlanta.
Parrish surrendered when a SWAT team surrounded the home he was hiding in, officials said.
He was taken to a hospital, treated for two gunshot wounds and later booked into the Clayton County Jail.
“They got him thanks to our bread man,” Helene Berkowitz, an employee at the Hardee’s told ABC affiliate station WSB-TV in Atlanta.
Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill released a statement praising Chilton for intervening and risking his life.
Hill said he was so impressed with Chilton for “defending those who could not defend themselves” that he made the truck driver an honorary deputy and inducted him into the Sheriff’s Posse Hall of Fame.
Mary Ann Reynolds, the Hardee’s employee who held up at gunpoint, also applauded Chilton to thwarting the crime and possibly saving her from being harmed. Roberts told WSB-TV that the suspect had allegedly robbed the restaurant before.
“This young man [had] been here twice. The first, he hurt my employees,” Reynolds said. “The second time, he jumped over and put the gun physically to me. I just did what he asked me to do.”