Theodore's World: Retired Marine Is Top Gun At Sub Shop

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July 02, 2007

Retired Marine Is Top Gun At Sub Shop

John Lovell

Retired Marine is top gun at sub shop
Miami Herald
A retired Marine is credited with thwarting two gunmen who had just robbed the cashier at a sandwich shop.

The night started like many for John Lovell, a 71-year-old ex-Marine and helicopter pilot who served two presidents. Late dinner alone at a Plantation Subway shop -- veggie sub, soda, oatmeal cookie.

Wednesday night, though, Lovell's meal was interrupted by an armed robbery. Two gunmen stormed into the sandwich shop at about 11 p.m., robbed the cashier and tried to shove Lovell -- the lone customer -- into the bathroom. Two bullets later, one gunman was dead, another was wounded and Lovell was being hailed as a hero.

''There's no such thing as an ex-Marine, and he typifies this,'' said longtime friend Wesley White.
''What he did last night was unbelievable Samaritan spirit,'' said shop owner Khalid Malik.

Lovell already was a great customer at the Jacaranda Square Subway, Malik said: He comes by almost every night, slides into a back booth and orders the six-inch veggie sub, cookie and soft drink.

But now, said Malik, ``I love him a lot more.''
No one could find Lovell on Thursday. But when he shows up again, Malik said, the hero will have free heroes at the shop for life.
The Subway video surveillance cameras, which the owner had installed only a week ago -- ''just to be on the safe side'' -- caught the whole drama.

The robbers got Lovell's money. But Lovell, who neighbors and friends say is in tiptop shape and looks years younger than he really is, pulled out his handgun and shot both in the head.

Donicio Arrindell, 22, of North Lauderdale died. Fredrick Gadson, 21, of Fort Lauderdale, was critically wounded.

The front window was blown out and cash strewn around the shop.

''There were fives and rolls of coins everywhere,'' said Detective Robert Rettig of the Plantation Police Department
Rettig said Lovell, who has a permit to carry a concealed weapon, is not expected to be charged. ''He was in fear for his life,'' Rettig said.

Reporters and television crews clustered Thursday outside Lovell's two-story town house in Plantation, hoping for an interview. He didn't show.

Friends said Lovell is amicable and soft-spoken, doesn't drink or smoke, and is a no-nonsense kind of guy.

''There's no BS with him,'' said White, of Yulee. 'You could compare him to Clint Eastwood in Dirty Harry. But because of his lifestyle, he's like `Clean Harry.' ''

Neighbors and friends said he is unmarried, drives a Corvette and sometimes is away for long periods of time. A neighbor collected his mail Thursday.

At one point during his Marine career, the Kentucky native served as a pilot for presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson. After retiring from the Corps, he became a pilot for Delta and Pan Am.

Bryan Sklar, who serves on the Townhouses at Jacaranda board with Lovell, said he is a straight-up guy.

''I've seen pictures of him with John F. Kennedy,'' Sklar said.

After the holdup Wednesday night, the suspects were transported to Broward General Medical Center, where Arrindell was later pronounced dead. Gadson, listed Thursday night in serious condition, faces armed robbery charges. And because someone was killed during the crime, he also will be charged with murder, authorities said.

Wild Thing's comment..........

I am so glad Florida has a law that gives people the right of "self-defense without the duty to retreat."

This man not only saved his own life but that of the shop owner as well. He was being led into a bathroom. If you read any stories of armed robberies, that’s a sure sign bad things are in store for the victim.

Posted by Wild Thing at July 2, 2007 12:47 AM


I hope we see more of this--Americans fighting back.
We are so sick and tired of parents not keeping their kids to home, and idiotic punks who think they can get away with anything because the judge will just give them a slap on the hand because he had a bad home life. Too bad. Get over it.
Many people out there had bad upbringings but they didn't turn to crime--they worked it the other way and made something of themselves.
Time for judicial reform, too.

Posted by: Lynn at July 2, 2007 04:43 AM

Charles Bronson reincarnated! Loved this Devil Dog hero sending these two scumbags 'TO GO' and with a hoagie sub as their last meal? Loved the Death Wish & Star Chamber & Magnum Force movies too. This Marine really ... "made my day!"

Posted by: darthcrUSAderworldtour07 at July 2, 2007 06:19 AM

Head Shots: The man knew where to place his bullets.

Also, if you read the article, he didn't just open fire on these lower forms of life. They already had his money and were then trying to shove him into a bathroom when he pulled his gun and ended the attack with a couple well placed shots. Their's a good chance if they would have taken his money and ran, he wouldn't have pulled his weapon but when they try to stuff you into a room, now your life is in danger.

Posted by: BobF at July 2, 2007 12:02 PM

I like Lovells biography. A Marine pilot who flew presidents and then flew for two great airlines, Pan Am and Delta. He minds his own business and knows where and when to place his shots. Here is hoping crook #2 croaks to save taxpayer money for trials and incarceration.

Thank you John Lovell for being a model American citizen.

Posted by: TomR at July 2, 2007 02:27 PM

Let's see how long it takes for Subway's corporate office to ban CCW in their stores.

I'll take special delight in walking up to their door, pointing to their sign, shaking my head and walking away.

Posted by: rickn8or at July 2, 2007 06:01 PM

Good. One less thug on the streets.

Posted by: raz0r at July 2, 2007 10:16 PM

Lynn, I agree completely, that happens most of the time too. The Judge going easy on them. grrrrr Everything you said is what happens and needs to stop.

Posted by: Wild Thing at July 3, 2007 12:18 AM

Darth, big smile, I love it!

Posted by: Wild Thing at July 3, 2007 12:18 AM

Bob, thanks that is what I was thinking too, they had their chance and kept pushing it and asked for it big time.

Posted by: Wild Thing at July 3, 2007 12:20 AM

Tom isn't that neat, this story should be a warning to anyone thinking of doing what they tried to do to someone. They do not know who and what they are dealing with, the person's training, the past life etc. They found out for sure this time, I do hope others take heed not to mess with people or they may not like what happens when we or anyone protects themselves.

Posted by: Wild Thing at July 3, 2007 12:25 AM

Hi Rick, I sure hope they don't do that. I would really be furious.

Posted by: Wild Thing at July 3, 2007 12:27 AM

razOr I agree, I hope others find out about this and learn from it not to ever try something like this.

Posted by: Wild Thing at July 3, 2007 12:28 AM