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Customer disarms robber who entered South Fargo gas station

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FARGO—An 18-year old is in jail and facing charges, after police say he tried to rob a gas station in South Fargo.

The attempt was thwarted by a customer, who took matters into his own hands.

At about 8:19 Sunday night, an 18-year-old man with a ski mask and a rifle went through the gas station doors.

Behind them was a lone customer who managed to snag the gun right out of his hands; that's when the robber took off running.

Officers later found John Holeton hiding in his parents house thanks to a tip, arresting him just after midnight.

While they don't recommend putting yourself in harms way, they say the lone customer might have saved lives.

"In all essence, basically kind of a hero. We don't know if the suspect was going to fire," said Jessica Schindeldecker, Fargo Police Department.

Self defense experts also say escape is the best option if it's possible, but sometimes escape isn't an option.

"When you're dealing with deadly force, seconds turn into eternity. People's lives can end," said John Bohreer, Certified Krav Maga.

Bohreer makes his living by getting people ready to defend themselves using "Krav Maga."

"We're literally teaching people hands on how to kill someone in two seconds flat," said Bohreer.

He does not recommend trying to disarm someone on your own unless you have extensive training with him or another organization.

Using reporter Nick Broadway as a prop, Bohreer shows us how he would have taken the gun from the potential robber.

"The best thing to do would be to turn the barrel away; get it offline. Come in, trigger a pressure point on the throat," said Bohreer, "If I feel his larynx is not gonna be a good hit, I'm gonna come straight for the eye and gouge the eye. While he's dealing with that, most likely one of his hands is going to come up to to his eye or to his face. Now while it's doing that, I'm going to grab the weapon, and I'm going to pull him in and kick him in the groin, and turn, hit him across the temple."

Bohreer says state law in North Dakota and Minnesota say you should escape instead of fighting back, if there's an easy way to get out.

Bohreer and police insist escape is by far the best and safest option.

If you're interested in learning more about local self-defense classes, click here