Raw: Bellaire man recounts thwarting of robbery suspect



Posted on February 17, 2012 at 3:54 PM

HOUSTON—People all over Houston and beyond are still talking about Bellaire’s gun toting hero.

“I hopped out of bed and I took my dancing partner with me,” Rik Melartin said the day after he caught a suspected robber on his street.

Melartin, who came to Houston from Finland more than 15 years ago, owns and operates John Keating Chevrolet in Crosby with his wife. Everyone there is still talking about his heroic actions.

It happened on Monday.

Melartin said when he heard the commotion, he knew he had to act fast.

A neighbor across the street had just been robbed at gunpoint, and the suspect was running away.

Rudy is Melartin’s 89-year-old neighbor. Melartin said he feared the suspect would try to enter the elderly man’s home to hide.

"So I figured back in my old athletic days I would have just tackled him physically. And I started to cut him off just like a linebacker would, just like Ray Lewis. I figured I could cut him off, by the edge of the house," Melartin said.

He caught up with the suspect as he ran into another neighbor’s yard.

"I said, ‘Stop or I will shoot you!’ And bam! Shot one on the ground, went around corner, ready. Because I didn’t know if the suspect was armed or not. Went around the corner to see he was lurking behind the bushes or if he had tried to enter Rudy’s house to seek for cover," Melartin said.

The suspect, 20-year-old Joseph Anthony Smith, threw up his hands and gave up. He was then arrested by Bellaire police and charged with aggravated robbery.

Click the video above to watch as Melartin recounts the incident.