Oregon martial artists thwart robbery

LOS ANGELES - Two Eugene martial arts experts thwarted an armed robbery at a Los Angeles hotel by wrestling the armed suspect to the ground, police said Friday. The robbery happened Nov. 2 at the Comfort Inn on Vermont Ave. Police said the martial arts experts, Brent Alvarez and Billy Denney, were in Los Angeles for a tournament.

Denney said he and Alvarez saw the would-be robber and the hotel manager in the lobby of the hotel and sprang into action.

"The manager eye-balled us and immediately started running after this guy saying, 'He's got a gun, he's got a gun, he's got a gun, he just robbed me,'" said Denney.

"He body-locks him and that's when me and Brent...kind of rushed the guy," he said. "When I heard 'gun,' I was worried he might, you know, aim it up, at us, or somebody else and then fire it. My main concern was the gun," said Denney.

"There was no thought process," said Alvarez. "I heard 'gun' and all the training just took over; just jump in and eliminate the situation, the threat."

The Los Angeles Police Department posted video of the dramatic holdup on YouTube.

The video shows the suspect pulling a gun on the hotel clerk. Later, two men step out from an elevator. The men proceed to wrestle the attacker to the ground, knock away the gun and hold him until police arrive.

"Where we're from, you don't just let somebody that's in need...you got to go help them," said Denney.