David West, 25, went to ask his girlfriend what she wanted for lunch while she worked at Walgreen’s in Brandenton, Florida, on Valentine’s Day, but the romantic gesture didn’t quite go as he planned (video below).
According to a police report obtained by the Sarasota Herald Tribune, a man identified as 26-year-old Anthony Robert Nemeth climbed onto the pharmacy counter and told the clerk, “I have a gun, this is no joke." He then demanded “all the Oxycodone 30 milligram pills.”
West witnessed the encounter.
“At first I thought it was a joke," West told the Herald Tribune. "He said, 'Give me all your Oxys' — it just happened so fast. I said, 'Are you serious?’”
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Nemeth and West began fighting and, although Nemeth nearly got away, West caught up to him and knocked him out. West, who is training to be a boxer, held Nemeth in a loose chokehold until police could arrive at the scene. Nemeth was transported to Blake Medical Center for his injuries and then taken to jail.
West said he wanted to keep his girlfriend and the other employees safe.
“I'd rather [Nemeth] use [the weapon] on me then the other people behind the counter,” he said.
Despite the bloody scuffle, West said he’s sympathetic towards the suspect.
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“I was actually really, really nice to go the guy, saying, 'I'm doing what I have to do,’” he said.
“He has his issues," West added. "That's probably pretty evident. I just hope one good thing comes out of this for him and his loved ones. It does hurt my heart see somebody turn to that for whatever reasons he might have done it for.”
West said he’s seen loved ones deal with substance issues and is disappointed with how people have reacted to the incident.
“It's a sad subject,” he said. “Of course, I followed it on social media. I really wish people weren't so mean about the situation. I did what I had to do to protect the person I loved.
“I just want something good to come out of it for him and his family. I hope he gets the help he needs, and I hope it helps his loved ones, too.”
Despite the brawl, West and his girlfriend still managed to celebrate Valentine’s Day together and he brought her a sub for lunch. Nemeth has been changed with attempted armed robbery.