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EXCLUSIVE: Former Marine talks about foiling Foothills robbery

James Kilcer's routine stop becomes anything but routine - News 11's Cody Lee and 13 On Your Side's Luis Lopez have team coverage

YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - While many mornings for former marine James Kilcer involve a routine trip to a Chevron gas station in the Foothills before heading to his job at Yuma Proving Ground, Wednesday morning panned out much differently.

Kilcer spent his morning stopping an armed robbery. The Yuma County Sheriffs Office says that the robbery took place at about 4:30 a.m. Three robbers walked into the Chevron, with one pointing a gun at the cash register.

Then, just moments later, Kilcer grabs the gun from one suspect and forced him down. Another suspect dropped to the floor, while the third could be seen running off in surveillance footage.

Kilcer tells KYMA that when he first pinned the suspect with the gun, he initially believed that it was only a toy. He then took action to make sure that he wasn't dealing with a deadly weapon.

News 11's Cody Lee and 13 On Your Side's Luis Lopez meet the man who stopped the holdup at the place where it happened:

"I thought it was just a toy gun, a toy airlift or something didn’t have anything in it, and so I threw it down next to me not thinking anything of it," Kilcer said.

When he had the chance, Kilcer was able to hold down the suspect who had the gun while at the same time checking it out to see if the gun was real.

"I eventually put enough force on it to where it opens up and I feel the shell, the casing hit my hand and I knew it was a real gun at that point," Kilcer added.

While all of this is happening, the cashier alerts another store employee who was on break. He comes out only to realize what is actually going on.

“After that, I pulled my phone out and I was like I need to get ahold of the police because we have an attempted robbery going on. Get them here as quick as I can."

Kilcer says this won’t be the last time he risks his life to protect others.

“Oh, yea in a heartbeat. You have to do it. I’d like to think more people would do it. But we're responsible for our own communities. We should be ready to do that stuff. We should be able to take charge of situations to make sure nobody gets hurt."

RELATED: WEB EXTRA: Full interview with former U.S. Marine who thwarted armed robbery plot

The suspect is a teen. He's now facing robbery and aggravated assault charges. As far as the other two suspects, they remain at large.

If you have any information you are asked to contact law enforcement at 78-CRIME.

You can remain anonymous.

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Luis Lopez

Luis Lopez is a MMJ covering both news and sports for both CBS 13 and NBC 11. Working his first professional newsroom job, Luis is a 2021 graduate of San Diego State University, where he majored in Journalism.

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Cody Lee

Cody Lee joined 13 On Your Side and KYMA News 11 in March 2020, but he’s no stranger to Arizona. He grew up in the Phoenix area and enjoys everything Arizona has to offer.

You can contact Cody at

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