DILLION – It didn’t matter that a Utah police officer was off duty and on vacation when he witnessed a Dillon pharmacy being robbed at gunpoint Sunday morning.

He sprung into action and managed to disarm the robber, who was holding up the pharmacy at the Safeway store in Dillon.

Police say it was a dramatic takedown.

“The suspect pulled the trigger and the officer was not hit,” said Dillon Police Chief Don Guiberson. “Luckily, he was able to wrestle the firearm from him and kept him at gunpoint until our officers showed up.”

Story continues below

Police arrested Terry Watson of Dillon in connection with the attempted armed robbery.

The off-duty officer just happened to stop in the store for some coffee and Tylenol just as Watson was allegedly pointing a handgun at the pharmacist and demanding items.

The off-duty officer was not armed but still managed to wrestle the gun away from the assailant. A shot was fired during the struggle, but no one was injured.

The Dillon police chief is grateful for this fellow officer’s assistance.

“He’s a top rate, class-act guy, didn’t want any, you know, any notoriety for it, nothing like that. He said, ‘I didn’t take my oath to just sit there and let this kind of thing happen,’” Guiberson said.

The chief of police added that what happened at Safeway is a prime example of the sacrifices officers are willing to make when they take the oath to protect and serve.

“This was an individual that was out shopping with his family on vacation. Ends up wrestling the guy, gets shot at, getting a gun put in his ribs and he ends up saving the day and putting himself in great harm for people he doesn’t know,” the chief said.

The unsuccessful robbery and act of heroism is the talk of the small town and many residents are impressed by the off-duty officer’s actions.

Rebecca Treib posted on Facebook: “I don’t think I’ve been more scared in my life than I was this morning! I was in Safeway and all of a sudden there were gunshots! I ran for my life outside and the cop showed up and got the guy! Thankfully nobody was injured! Small town Dillon had a crazy morning!”

“I’d shake his hand if I got to meet him. He’s a hero for being able to stop that from getting any further than it did,” Dillon resident Jack Kirkley said.

Watson is in custody and could be charged with attempted deliberate homicide for firing his gun during the struggle.

MTN Reporter: John Emeigh