Off duty officer deflects robbery in progress

MOBILE, Ala. – An off-duty Prichard police officer was out with his family Saturday, February 8 when he stumbled onto a robbery in progress.

Not only was the officer in the right place at the right time, he knew exactly how to handle the situation.

Tywone Johnson was with his wife and daughters when he stopped for gas at Dodge’s convenience store on Schillinger Road.

The off-duty officer realized something was wrong as soon as he walked in the store.

“When I went in I noticed the clerk was acting kind of timid. She was talking to the suspect. So I kind of looked out the corner of my eye, and once I noticed the gun I eased out the store, backed out and went to my vehicle grabbed my gun and badge,” Johnson said.

Before the suspect could get out the door with the stolen cash, Johnson was back.

“I identified myself as a police officer, and told the suspect to get down on the ground, drop the gun, and let go of the cash that he had stolen,” he said.

Johnson held 17-year-old Jean Carlos Rodriguez there until Mobile police arrived a few minutes later. The teen is charged with first degree robbery.

“He’s brave. I was more afraid,” Janice Johnson said.

Janice was in the car with their four-week-old baby girl and 5-year-old daughter.

“I didn’t realize what was going on. He ran to the car and just ran  back. I didn’t realize what was going on. It took a little minute. It was even a guy standing out there and he was like, ‘What’s going on?” she said.

“It was kind of second nature just kicked in. There was no way I could just let that go. I thank God I was in the right place at the right time,” Johnson said.

Public service is obviously a priority in Johnson’s life. He’s off-duty from the Prichard Police Department, because he’s also in the Army Reserve.

Johnson will leave in a couple of weeks for his second tour of duty in Afghanistan.

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