ST. GEORGE — A dramatic video has surfaced showing a Mormon missionary from the United States disarming a would-be robber and pummeling another in the streets of Brazil over the weekend. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints subsequently released a statement Wednesday stating that the missionary reacted “in the moment” to protect himself and his companion.
After the would-be robbers are outmatched by the missionary and the apparent robbery fails, the assailants are shown in the video running away on foot, leaving behind their motorcycle.
“We are grateful that this incident did not end tragically, either for the missionaries or the other individuals involved,” Eric Hawkins, LDS church spokesman, said in a statement.
A surveillance video captured the incident Saturday, showing a motorcycle carrying two men roll up on two missionaries serving in the church’s Brazil Manaus Mission, along with two bystanders as they are standing on a sidewalk.
The video, posted on Facebook Monday, then shows one man jump off the motorcycle, confront the four individuals and pull out a gun.
One of the missionaries disarms the assailant, who soon flees the scene.
When the second assailant tries to get the gun back, the missionary holds him off before throwing the gun over a fence.
As the missionary and the second assailant begin trading punches, the assailant proves to be no match for the missionary, who unleashes a flurry of jabs and kicks until the assailant ultimately runs away.
Hawkins said missionaries are counseled not to resist when confronted by thieves but noted that exceptions may exist.
“The guidance given to missionaries is to avoid conflict,” Hawkins said. “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.”
They two missionaries were transferred to a different location in Brazil, the church said, and are not facing any disciplinary action. The church has not released their names.
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