"Crime-fighting citizens on rise in Brevard (Florida)"

Armed citizens fighting crime becoming common place.

Ruben Torres was approaching the front register at Winn-Dixie to pay for a pound of fresh shrimp when he noticed workers and customers lying on the floor sobbing.

Torres, a mailman, looked out toward the glass doors and saw a madman in the parking lot aiming a gun at him. A shot rang out, the glass from the front doors shattered and the package of shrimp went flying out of his hands.

Torres ran from the store to his car, ducking shots from William Cruse, who had gone on a shooting spree, killing six and wounding more than a dozen people more than 20 years ago. While most people would have gotten in their car and escaped to safety, Torres reached into his glove compartment and pulled out his nickel-plated, silver-handled .45-caliber pistol.

"We started a little shootout," Torres said. "I was shooting at him and he was shooting at me."

Originally criticized and briefly suspected of being in cahoots with Cruse, Torres since has been credited with distracting the killer long enough for many people to escape the supermarket. He still has the nickel-plated, silver-handled pistol he used that night.

"Nobody ever called me a hero. They called me a vigilante," he said.

Torres was back in the news again less than three weeks ago, when he left a branch of the Space Coast Credit Union in Palm Bay that was being robbed in order to retrieve the gun from his car, a 9mm pistol. He went back into the bank and ordered the suspect to the ground. Torres held him there until police arrived.

In the past 30 days, two bank robberies were thwarted when citizens pulled out legally registered firearms, a murderer was apprehended when bystanders wrote down the license plate of the vehicle he was in and a Titusville man gave chase to another man who had just stolen prescription drugs from a pharmacy. . . .

Thanks to Karl Krahmer for the link.

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