TORONTO – A security guard said he wasn’t really thinking about much in the seconds before rushing a man who had allegedly just attacked another man with a machete in downtown Toronto.
“I just wanted to stop what he was doing,” Nate McNeil told a news conference Thursday afternoon.
McNeil works for Paragon Security, which released dramatic video of Wednesday’s attack and subsequent takedown by McNeil and his colleague, Phillip Bonaparte.
The video shows a man — wielding what witnesses described as a large machete — repeatedly swinging the weapon at a man who fell to the ground and tried to protect himself with a bag.
Police said the attack — which they described as unprovoked — left the 30-year-old victim with serious, but non-life threatening injuries to his head and legs.
The video shows the machete-wielding man turn and swipe at another pedestrian before briefly chasing after the victim, and then moving in front of a set of doors, yelling the entire time.
Meanwhile, McNeil and Bonaparte said they got the call on their radios about the attack and ran through the foyer of the building and ended up on the other side of a set of doors from where the suspect stood.
“Once I went through the second set of doors to the exterior area, he was still doing what he was doing with the machete,” McNeil said.
He said he then “neutralized” the attacker’s hand and took him down.
The video shows the big, burly security guard — McNeil is six-foot-four, 270 pounds — bursting through the doors without hesitation, grabbing the man’s right arm and tackling him to the ground.
McNeil, who appeared uneasy in the limelight, told the news conference that he made the plan “in that split second” when he saw the machete in the man’s hand.
After the takedown, Bonaparte — at five-foot-five, 140 pounds — rushed over, kicked away a knife the attacker had dropped and pried the machete away from the man before wrapping the man’s wrists with restraints.
Then they held him until police arrived a few minutes later.
Arlington Thompson of Queens, N.Y., appeared in court Thursday morning wearing a red hoodie and blue jeans. He said only his name and thank you after the brief appearance, at which the 35-year-old was remanded into custody until his next scheduled appearance on Dec. 30.
Thompson is charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault, assault with a weapon and possession of a dangerous weapon.
Wednesday’s incident took place in the late afternoon near the city’s bustling Eaton Centre shopping mall.
Toronto Police Sgt. Dale Corra offered praise for the teamwork that kept the situation from turning deadly.
He lauded the city’s business community and local residents for working with police.
“There was a perilous situation here where citizens remained — very smartly and vigilantly — on the outside of the perimeter, and then approached the officers afterwards when things were safe to add in what they saw,” Corra said.
Police said they’re still seeking other witnesses.