Lorenzo Anthony does not consider himself a hero, but that is what many have called him since he helped a man fight off armed robbers while travelling on a train in Cape Town last week.
After visiting an optometrist on Thursday, Anthony decided to visit his college and hopped on the train at Observatory.
“Just before Woodstock, I heard some ladies shouting and saw everybody jumping up and running to the end of the carriage,” he told News24 on Tuesday.
He looked up and saw two men trying to rob a commuter, Gareth Lundt, at gunpoint.
Lundt, 24, who had been travelling to his call centre job in town, said he initially took out his phone to comply with their demands but when he saw that the robbers were in school uniform, he put it away and decided to tackle the man closest to him.
They got into a scuffle and Lundt managed to hold onto him but could not grab the gun.
Anthony, 44, who assembles and delivers furniture for a living, said he got a bad feeling because he saw Lundt at the door between the carriages.
‘It wasn’t going to come out good for him’
“He was basically in a difficult spot. It wasn’t going to come out good for him. That’s why I reacted.”
Anthony said he walked up to them and asked what was going on. The one robber claimed he did not have a gun but Lundt insisted he did and pointed to it tucked behind his back.
“I said, ‘Mr, just give me the gun.’ He said no and put his hand behind his back and reached for the gun.”
Anthony, who describes himself as “quite a biggish guy”, said he was focused in the moment and channelled his martial arts skills “from his younger years”.
“I wrapped my arms around him and held him tight so he couldn’t really move his arms. Luckily, I got hold of the gun.”
Anthony said it was only afterwards that the shock and relief rushed in at not being shot.
Lundt said the accomplice moved outside between carriages and tried to grab the gun from his friend through the window.
Anthony and Lundt held onto the one attacker until the train stopped at Cape Town central.
“He was apologising, saying please forgive me. I said, ‘I do forgive you, but I am taking you to jail now’.”
Lundt said after unsuccessfully shouting at authorities on the platform to help them, he and Anthony “hand-delivered” the robber to the police at the station.
‘He saved your life today’
Anthony said the officers were puzzled at first but when he handed over the gun with an explanation, they congratulated the two for being so heroic.
“The one officer said to Gareth: ‘Do you even understand what this man did for you? He saved your life today’.”
Anthony, ever humble, said he does not like being the centre of attention and was just someone who tried to do the right thing.
While his children were happy, his wife was less impressed. A few years ago, he was shot in the leg during an attempted hijacking while out fishing.
“When I told her [about the train], she said we need a hero at home, we need you here… But I wouldn’t be able to live with myself [if I hadn’t intervened].”
Accused in court
Lundt praised Anthony for assisting him.
“It could have been way worse. I was expecting to get shot. I can’t thank Lorenzo enough. If a petrol attendant can get money… Lorenzo’s help, it’s priceless to be honest.”
Western Cape police spokesperson FC van Wyk confirmed that an 18-year-old dressed in a school uniform was apprehended by Lundt and other commuters on the train and handed over to the Rapid Rail Police.
He appeared in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court on Monday. The case was postponed for further investigation.