When three Marine recruiters heard about an attempted robbery happening outside their office, they sprang into action. Now one of the suspects is in custody after being taken down by a move straight out of the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program.

As Staff Sgt. Ben Shoemaker learned, the MCMAP wristlock technique is as useful taking down would-be criminals as it is dealing with difficult detainees in a war zone.

Chasing down an alleged prospective thief outside of the Lynnwood, Washington, recruiting office Jan. 6, Shoemaker never intended to employ the wristlock. He planned on tackling the 18-year-old, but when the failed robber's arm was in reach, put one of his arms out within reach, Shoemaker acted instinctively.

"My first thought was, we're on the grass I'm just going to [tackle] him," he said. "I didn't think about it until it was done."

The chase began around 5 p.m. That's when the trio of Marines manning the office heard a commotion outside — honking and revving. Staff Sgt. Bryson Twigg was the first to investigate and he quickly called on Shoemaker and Sgt. Ricardo Schebesta to assist.

When Shoemaker stepped out, he saw a woman in black SUV madly attempting to run down a pedestrian. After catching up with her, he learned two young men she was after had just tried to rob her. Shoemaker spotted one of the suspects and started off in pursuit.

"What are you supposed to do? That's what we're trained to do. I can't sit here and let it happen," he said.

One suspect fled, but the MCMAP move proved successful as the other was turned over to local authorities. Outside of demonstrating it on friends, the infantry unit leader said the last time he Shoemaker employed used the wristlock was while deployed in Iraq, he said. Back then, he rarely — if at all — experienced fear.

But while waiting to file a police report back at the recruiting station after turning the alleged crook over to local authorities, the Purple Heart recipient winner with tours to in Iraq and Afghanistan under his belt felt it hit him. Though told the suspect had a gun — it turns out he was armed with just a baseball bat — Shoemaker had sprung into action.

"Fear came later," he said. "At the time, no, I didn't think about it. Once I sat down, it was like 'holy crap.' It's different because I have a kid. That's all I kept thinking about. Going into combat I didn't have one. ...That's the first time I've actually felt the whole, 'What if something happened?'"

He's since been lauded as a hero, profiled in newspapers and interviewed on television alongside Twigg and Schebesta. Their commanding officer, Maj. Sung Kim, called the trio's actions "reflective of the courage and commitment they embody."

"[They] set a great example for their fellow Marines, and especially for the young poolees who are studying them to learn what it means to be a Marine," he said in an email. "Their response reminds all Marines that we have a responsibility to always do the right thing, regardless of whether or not anyone is watching."

Shoemaker, though, is looking forward to the limelight fading. He would jump into the fray again, if presented with a similar situation, but crime-fighting isn't his thing.

"Capes don't go well with our blues, either," Shoemaker said wryly.

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