OAKLAND (KPIX) — A Good Samaritan who intervened during a brazen daytime robbery in Oakland’s Chinatown over the weekend said he’s thankful to be alive.
Mr. Li, 27, spoke with KPIX 5’s Betty Yu before he was discharged from the hospital Monday evening. We are withholding his first name for privacy reasons.READ MORE: South Bay Congressman Welcomes Afghan Refugees Arriving in Fremont
Li said he was waiting for his mom who was shopping, when he noticed two men follow two couples out of a boba tea shop near 8th and Franklin Streets Saturday afternoon.
“Then soon afterwards I hear some yelling and screaming, and I turn around, and it looks like there’s a robbery attempt right now, so I thought in my head ‘try to de-escalate the situation, start approaching, making my presence known,'” said Li.
He said one of the suspects pointed a gun at the woman’s head. Another male victim tackled the gunman, and Li tried to help push the suspect to the ground. That’s when he was shot twice – once in the shoulder and thigh. The men got away with the purses and have not been arrested.
“I was just thinking of everyone’s safety at first,” said Li, when asked why he was compelled to intervene.READ MORE: 4.3 Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Near Los Angeles
“At first it was just a regular tussle. There wasn’t any guns involved, but once the gun was pulled out, I was already too close,” he added.
The other male victim was pistol whipped as he tried to recover the woman’s purse.
“I would definitely do it again, but maybe do things a little bit differently. I would still definitely approach them. I’m not just going to stand by. But I’ll probably try to get my words out faster.”
The Oakland resident said he has taken active shooter training in the past.
“My advice would be to prioritize safety over anything else, so if you have possessions, you should just drop them, throw them, try to distract them in any way you can in order to escape. That’s probably rule number 1, in any type of shooter situation,” Li said.MORE NEWS: San Francisco Mayor Defends Criticism After Video Catches Her Dancing Maskless at Night Club
He said that only as a last resort did he make physical contact and try to disarm the gunman. He is expected to make a full recovery.