Indiana Pastor Pulls Out Gun to Prevent Robbery, Tells Suspect: 'No, You Get on the Ground'

A pastor in Indiana is being heralded as a hero after saving the day by preventing a crime at a local discount store by pulling out his licensed handgun to stop an attempted robbery suspect.

Pastor Carl Sanders was walking into the Dollar General Store in Evansville, Ind. on Friday night to purchase a Gatorade when he was approached by a 25-year-old suspect, who appeared to be robbing a cashier. Minutes before Sanders' entrance, the suspect, Jermaine Dewayne Marshall, had ordered the cashier to open the cash register, and when the employee had refused, Marshall had struck him repeatedly in the face.

Marshall had wrapped a bandana around his face and was carrying an unknown object in his hand covered by a plastic bag that he was claiming to be a firearm.

Sanders has described to local media outlet WFIE-TV that upon entering the store, the suspect approached him and yelled at him to get on the ground. "He was telling me to get on the ground," Sanders, who has a permit to carry a firearm, said. "That's when I pulled my weapon and say, 'No, you get on the ground,'" the pastor added, chuckling. Stunned, Marshall quickly submitted and went down to the ground. Sanders then reportedly stood over Marshall until law enforcement arrived. Police discovered that the firearm Marshall claimed to be holding under a plastic bag in his hand was in fact a spoon.

The pastor told WFIE-TV that he wasn't a hero; rather, he just happened to be in the right place at the right time, doing God's Will. He added that he plans to visit Marshall in jail soon. "I told him don't move, put your face down on the ground and don't even look at me right now. I just told him this is out of love," Sanders said. 

"I laid my life down for some people, knowing they were going to be OK," Sanders continued, adding that he knew Marshall "didn't deserve to be hurt, I wasn't going to hurt him, but I wanted him to know you can't do this."

There have recently been several heroic stories involving civilians protecting themselves from robbers. Earlier in October in Brentwood, New York., security footage shows a deli clerk fending off a firearm-carrying robber using a machete he had hidden behind the sales counter. The clerk managed to chase the suspect out of the store without any injury to himself or others. Similarly, in Chicago, Illinois in April, a shop owner in Logan Square, who had been robbed before, fended off two men carrying guns using a baseball bat. Lastly, an elderly customer at an internet cafe in Ocala, Fla. prevented a robbery in July 2012 by shooting at the suspects, who eventually fled and were later arrested.