Army Staff Sgt. Eddie Peoples Saves the Day, Nabs Bank Robber

Veteran on stopping bank robbery: 'A surreal moment.'

ByABC News via logo
June 3, 2011, 8:27 AM

June 3, 2011 -- When Army Staff Sgt. Eddie Peoples returned home to Sarasota, Fla., this week after a tour of duty in Iraq, the last place he thought he would find himself was in the middle of more danger, at his local bank.

"It was a surreal moment," Peoples said today on "Good Morning America," of the moment when a robber stormed into the Bank of America branch where Peoples and his two young sons were waiting in line.

Sarasota police say it was then that Matthew Rogers, 34, casually dressed in a greet t-shirt and baseball hat, calmly entered the bank, brandishing a large gun, and ordering people not to move and tellers to fill a satchel with cash.

"The way he said it was the way you would order lunch, cold and calculated," Peoples, 34, told "GMA." "I thought he was joking at first."

Peoples' two sons, 4-year-old Kioni and 6-year-old Ikaika, thought the robbery was a joke too and began laughing, drawing unwanted attention from the robber who reportedly waved the gun in Peoples' direction and warned him to not try anything.

It was then that Peoples' fatherly instincts, and military training, kicked in.

Surveillance video from the bank captured Peoples, at that moment, ordering his sons to hide under lobby chairs as he moves two larger chairs into position to shield them from the gunman.

He then threw himself directly into the line of fire.

"My instincts took over," Peoples said. "I'd rather take a bullet any day than one of these beautiful boys get hurt."

Peoples, a 10-year Army veteran who has been through five deployments, stood over his sons. He was directly in Roger's line of fire, until the gunmen got his bundle of money and fled out the back of the bank to his car.

But the dramatic story did not end there, with the rest playing out like a scene straight from an action movie.