Former police sergeant fights off suspected robber in Cookout drive-thru

MONROE, N.C. — An armed suspect picked the wrong man to rob early Tuesday morning in a Cookout drive-thru line in Monroe, according to a police report.

That’s because the victim turned out to be James Hughes, former Monroe police sergeant and Army veteran.

Hughes told Channel 9 he was in the drive-thru around 1 a.m. Tuesday when a man stuck a gun through his window and demanded money.

"My first thought was to take the gun away from him," Hughes said.

Training from 24 years spent in law enforcement and eight years in the Army kicked in. Hughes wrestled the robber for the gun and even thought he may have to shoot the suspect with his own gun.

"Years in law enforcement kicked in and I was afraid if I had given him my money, he would've shot me anyway," Hughes said.

Once Hughes had the gun, the suspect ran off.

Hughes followed the suspect's vehicle so he could get a description of it and the tag number for police.

He said he was on the phone with 911 dispatchers when the suspect leaned out the car window and fired two shots at him.

"Apparently they had a pistol in the vehicle," Hughes said. "I'm not aware of what it actually hit, but I'm just glad it missed me."

Hughes stopped following the car and waited for police.

Soon after, officers spotted the car and arrested the suspected robber, Eddie Blackwell, and the man he was with, Johnathan Baker.

(Eddie Blackwell, Johnathan Baker)

Blackwell and Baker face several charges, including attempted robbery and conspiracy.

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