A British war veteran fought off two men who tried to rob him at knifepoint Sunday.
He did it while seated in his wheelchair.
Roger Mercer, 38, was out training for a wheelchair marathon near his home in Chester, England, when he was approached by two men, one of whom was wielding an eight-inch blade.
The 6-foot-7-inch Mercer may have appeared to be an easy target for the would-be robbers, but they quickly learned they had picked on the wrong man.
“I was able to get the blade out of his hand straight away and it got thrown to the side. I also sent him flying,” Mercer said, according to the Telegraph. “He was there going ‘what the hell?’ He probably wasn’t expecting a wheelchair user to fight back.”
Mercer then turned his attention to the second attacker, who was attempting to put him in a headlock from behind. The veteran jammed his thumb into the man’s eye socket, causing him to let go and flee.
Mercer served for 11 years in the British army until suffering a serious spinal injury while deployed to Afghanistan in 2007. His military service, which also included stints in Bosnia and Northern Ireland, made him “used to the rough stuff,” he said.
Police praised Mercer’s fighting spirit.
“This was an opportunistic robbery by thieves who thought they could prey on a defenseless disabled man in order to steal his phone,” Cheshire Police Detective Tom Philpotts said, according to the Telegraph. “In this case the victim was extremely brave and lucky to be able to fight off his attackers, preventing them from causing him serious harm or taking his phone.”
Mercer is set to race on April 29 in the Chester Half Marathon, where he’ll raise funds for a local scouting group to go on a camping trip.
“This hasn’t put me off training and it’s not going to stop me,” Mercer said.
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