'I'm a nice person, not a hero,' says doorman who chased robbery suspect
Roberto Sandoval, the hotel doorman who was shot after chasing down a robber Friday, wasn't trying to be a hero. If his actions helped anyone, he said, he considers it a debt repaid to this country and the people in it.
Seattle Times staff reporter
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Roberto Sandoval wasn't trying to be a hero when he chased down a suspected armed robber, pushed him to the ground and, despite being shot, disarmed him. He was just trying to be helpful.
"I'm a nice person, not a hero. I heard somebody say, 'Get him,' so I ran," said Sandoval, 35, at his Federal Way home on Wednesday.
Sandoval, a doorman at the Mayflower Park Hotel in downtown Seattle, was shot in the arm Friday morning after he chased a man who had allegedly robbed a Westlake Center jewelry store moments earlier.
Sandoval said he was not sure where he'd been shot at first. But once he realized he had been wounded, he feared he might be dying.
"For 10 seconds I think I am dead," he said.
He thought about his wife, Labaci, and his two children, Roberto, 12, and Brianna, 9. He wondered who would take care of them if he died. He thought about his father, who died two years ago in Texas.
"I thought I was going to be with him."
Doctors have told Sandoval he will recover from the wound. And while it could be as long as two months before he returns to work, he's already started regaining the use of his fingers and thumb, he said. Sandoval has medical insurance.
According to documents filed in King County Superior Court, the man suspected of shooting Sandoval and of robbing the jewelry store is identified as, Edmond Maynor, 35, of Lynnwood.
Maynor was wearing glasses, a hat, gloves and a full latex mask designed to make him look like a bald, white man when he walked into Express Jewelers in Westlake Mall on Friday morning, the documents said.
He went to the counter and asked to see a diamond ring. The store's co-owner, Tu Huynh, — though alarmed by Maynor's appearance — pulled out a ring to show him, court documents say.
Maynor then pulled out a loaded semi-automatic pistol, pointed it at Huynh, threatened to shoot him and demanded a $30,000 tray of rings, charging documents allege.
Huynh handed the tray over but refused to let go. Maynor fired one round at him, court documents say. Police and prosecutors say the bullet pierced the sleeve of Huynh's shirt and the wall of an adjoining business.
Huynh released the tray but ran after Maynor, court documents say. As Maynor fled, he leapt down a flight of stairs and dropped his weapon, court documents allege. Prosecutors allege that Maynor picked up the weapon and fired twice more at Huynh.
Employees at the Wells Fargo Bank branch inside the mall heard the gunshot and triggered a panic alarm, alerting police to the robbery.
Sandoval, who was standing outside the hotel, said he did not hear the gunshots. But he did see a man run by and heard people yelling about a gunman. He took off after the man, trailed by "everybody from the hotel," he said.
Although Maynor shot at Sandoval three times and struck him in the head with the handgun, Sandoval said he does not believe that the man truly wanted to hurt him.
"He (was) trying to get away. ... I'm feeling bad for him," he said.
After Sandoval was shot, several other bystanders jumped in and held the gunman until police arrived.
Sandoval was taken to Harborview Medical Center, where doctors determined they would wait until his swelling receded before deciding whether to remove the bullet fragments, according to the hotel's manager, Paul Ishii.
Sandoval, who hails from a small town near Mexico City, immigrated to Washington 14 years ago because his older brother, Luis, was already here. He's worked at the hotel for 11 years. His wife also works at the Mayflower Park, in food services.
The hotel's assistant manager, Wendy McBeth, said Sandoval is a highly regarded employee. Even when he was in the emergency room Friday, she said, "he asked if he was on the schedule for Saturday."
Sandoval said if his actions helped anyone, he considers it a debt repaid to his new home.
"I'm repaying a little bit of what America has given me," he said.
Christine Clarridge: 206-464-8983 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Information in this article, originally published Sept. 26, 2012, was corrected Sept. 27, 2012. A previous version of this story gave the wrong title for Mayflower Park Hotel assistant manager Wendy McBeth.The story also incorrectly stated that Roberto Sandoval's lost wages and additional expenses would not be covered while he recovered from the gunshot wound. Paul Ishii, general manager of the Mayflower Park Hotel, where Sandoval works as a doorman, said Sandoval's wages, tips and other expenses will be covered.