He's been out of the game for months, but 38-year-old John Daiker put his football moves to use on an armed robber outside a gas station in Rogers.
Daiker had just finished filling up his car with gas at the SuperAmerica on Highway 101 near Interstate 94 when he noticed someone wearing a black-hooded sweatshirt and a bandana walk quickly across the parking lot. Suspicious, he pretended to wash his van windshield so he could stick around and see what that person was up to. He watched as the person held up the store clerk at gunpoint.
Then, the 6-foot-three-inch, 270-pound former defensive end sprung into action.
Daiker drove his van up to one set of doors to block that exit. He yelled to another customer in the parking lot to call police. He then waited at the other exit for the robber to come out.
Daiker said if the robber pointed the gun at him, he would have backed off.
"I figured, if he didn't, if he just took off, he's probably really scared," says Daiker, "or it's not a real gun."
The robber took off.
"The idea was I’m not going to get shot if he still has the gun with him, so I’m going to try to hit him as hard as I can so I knock the wind out of him so he can’t move," says Daiker. "I full blown tackled him and we probably flew like two feet or three feet."
Daiker held the robber until police showed up... just moments later.
Earlier that night, police got an alert saying an armed robber seemed to be targeting SuperAmerica stores in the metro. Rogers police officer Daniel Ryan set up surveillance on the SuperAmerica on Highway 101 and actually saw Daiker tackle the robber.
Ryan arrested the 17-year-old robber from Fridley. Police also arrested a 17-year-old female from Shoreview who police say drove the getaway car.
It turns out the robber had an airsoft gun. Still, Rogers Police Chief Jeff Beahen says civilians shouldn't be taking on armed suspects.
"But I do have to commend [Daiker] for his acts and his bravery in taking down what was an armed robber," says Beahen. "That’s unbelievable."
Daiker suffered some road rash on his arms and hands, but otherwise is okay.
Thursday at the Rogers City Council meeting, he and officer Ryan will receive awards for their actions on Tuesday night.
Daiker says he's no hero. He says he was just acting on instinct.
"What if he had a real gun and shot the [clerk] and I just left? I couldn’t live with that on my conscience," says Daiker. "If you can help somebody, you help. That’s what you do."
August 16, 2012