WESLACO, Texas (WAND) – A Decatur native is being called a hero in plain clothes after his Army background kicked in.
"I choose to not be a victim,” John Allen, of Mercedes, Texas, said.
It was Monday, Aug. 17 as the 1981 Stephen Decatur High School graduate arrived at the Walmart in Weslaco.
“I just didn't want him to kill innocent people,” Allen said as recounted seeing a man walking into the store dressed in black and carrying an AK-47.
While most would retreat and call 911 seeing something like that, not knowing what the man’s intentions were, Allen was not about to stand back. He jumped into action.
"We have open carry in Texas, but you don’t carry an AK-47,” he said.
He placed his .45 automatic in his holster and made his way toward the gunman with a message for him.
"You're not going to shoot anyone in this store today,” he said. “I'm not going to let that happen."
Allen held the man a gunpoint with a store security guard. His actions led to the man putting down the gun.
"He was totally surprised. Got him to put the AK-47 down. He was very upset because I had destroyed his plans."
Several officers from the Weslaco Police Department arrived during the encounter.
“The suspect entered the Walmart through the north side entrance (and) had a confrontation with a customer,” Police Chief Joel Rivera told TV station KVEO.
As police took control of the situation, Allen backed away. He reflected on what had happened.
"I was a scared man who was trying to do the right thing to make sure nobody got hurt,” Allen said, not knowing what was about to come. His actions would quickly take over the internet, and despite the recognition, he does not consider himself a hero.
"You have to put the greater good ahead of your own personal interests.” Allen said. “It is time we start protecting each other and treating each other with love and dignity."
The man who Allen confronted did have another gun on him. Police said he pulled it on officers, and officers returned fire, killing the man. The police chief told media the man was upset over a medical condition.