Sheriff's Major Takes Down Hammer-Wielding Madman With 2 Cans of Beans


As the sheriff says, it’s a “can-do” attitude.

A standoff in a Florida Panhandle grocery between a violent DUI suspect and three law enforcement officers ended successfully last week when one of the good guys used the safest weapon available to subdue the miscreant.

And it wasn’t something that’s in most police officer handbooks.

According to the Panama City News Herald, the saga began when Bay County Sheriff Tommy Ford, Deputy Chief Joel Heape and sheriff’s Maj. Jimmy Stanford were on their way to lunch Thursday and 911 calls started coming in reporting an armed man in a nearby grocery store who might have fired at least one shot.

Already in the neighborhood, the three put their lunch plans on hold and were the first law enforcement officers to arrive at the Rainbow Grocery, the News Herald reported.

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While they were still at the car, putting on tactical vests and getting rifles, the suspect, identified as 25-year-old Justin Tyler Stanford, came out of the grocery with a hammer, pointed it at them like it was a gun, then returned inside, the News Herald reported.

The three law enforcement officers, still thinking Stanford might have a gun somewhere, followed him inside.

It could have gotten ugly.

The man “came toward me and takes a swing at me with the hammer and I blocked the swing and hit him with the butt of the gun and that knocked him back into a tray of lotion or something, it went everywhere,” Heape told the News Herald.

Did this criminal get what was coming to him?

The suspect then backed down an aisle with Ford and Heape following. Maj. Stanford (it wasn’t clear if he was any relation to the suspect) went down a parallel aisle.

“My thinking is he’ll back into me and maybe I can grab him,” Stanford said. “For whatever reason he turned when he got real close and sees me and my element of surprise is now gone, so there we are, the three of us.”

And that’s when the major acted – hurling two cans of Bush’s extra brown sugar baked beans at the suspect and giving his colleagues the break they needed. Fox News picks up the story from here:

Stanford’s colleagues didn’t waste any time.

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“After Jimmy had hit him a couple of times, he turns and looks at Jimmy, and turns and looks at the sheriff and I, and charges,” Heape said. “I reached up and caught his arm swinging the hammer at me, he was slow. And then the sheriff was on him.”

Now, that’s justice at work.

Judging by the reactions on social media, most Americans got a kick out of how things worked out.

And this one was sadly true.

As the for the suspect, he was sent to the Bay County jail, charged with assault with a deadly weapon, resisting an officer with violence, DUI and leaving the scene of an accident, the News Herald reported.

As one Twitter user put it, he “should have surrendered in Heinz-sight.”


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Joe has spent more than 30 years as a reporter, copy editor and metro desk editor in newsrooms in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Florida. He's been with Liftable Media since 2015.
Joe has spent more than 30 years as a reporter, copy editor and metro editor in newsrooms in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Florida. He's been with Liftable Media since 2015. Largely a product of Catholic schools, who discovered Ayn Rand in college, Joe is a lifelong newspaperman who learned enough about the trade to be skeptical of every word ever written. He was also lucky enough to have a job that didn't need a printing press to do it.