A newly released dramatic video captures two would-be robbers in the streets of Brazil being undone by a Mormon missionary from the United States, who disarms one man and pummels another with punches.
In the end, the apparent attackers flee on foot, leaving behind their motorcycle.
“The missionary feared for his life and reacted,” Eric Hawkins, spokesman for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, headquartered in Salt Lake City, told The Washington Post late Wednesday.
No police report was filed, he said.
A surveillance video of the incident, which happened over the weekend, shows a motorcycle carrying two men stopping near two of the church’s missionaries as they walked down a street in Manaus in the distinctive white shirt and black tie worn on missions. One man jumps off the bike, confronts the missionaries and then brandishes a gun.
The larger missionary quickly disarms the man, who soon flees the scene. The second man attempts to get the weapon back, but the missionary throws it over a fence and begins trading punches with him. The other missionary stays out of the fray as it moves from the sidewalk and into the street.
Outmatched by the persistent jabs and kicks of the missionary, who is soon assisted by another man, the second would-be robber also runs away.
“It looks like an attempted robbery and it fails,” Hawkins said, adding that the missionaries told the church they had been “attacked.”
He declined to identify either missionary but confirmed that they were Americans. They remain in Brazil but are serving as missionaries in a different location, he said.
Hawkins did not know how long the missionaries had been in Brazil. Single men, generally between the ages of 18 and 25, serve on the church’s missions for two years. Single women over age 19 can also serve on missions. The church has more than 74,000 full-time missionaries serving in 418 missions around the world.
“We are grateful that this incident did not end tragically, either for the missionaries or the other individuals involved,” the church said in a statement. “The guidance given to missionaries is to avoid conflict. Every situation is unique, and as adults, missionaries must make decisions about their safety. In this case, the assailant had a weapon and the missionary reacted in the moment to protect his life and that of his companion.”