Soldier uses wrestling move to stop knife attack
Anthony Scroggins is accustomed to reporting the news, not making it.
But four weeks ago, the Army specialist and producer with American Forces Network foiled an audacious knife attack in a German hospital waiting room, then caught the assailant moments later when he tried to escape.
“I thought, ‘He can’t stab someone and then be home for dinner,’ ” Scroggins said Tuesday.
A doctor later credited Scroggins with saving the victim’s life. Police in Mainz, where the attack occurred, called the 24-year-old “stout-hearted.”
Scroggins “obviously put himself at some considerable risk,” said Lon Blair, the operations director for AFN Hessen.
“The way I look at it, anyone would have done the same thing,” Scroggins said. “It was automatic. You don’t even think about it.”
Blair believes Scroggins is being too modest. While the stabbing was taking place, several people in the vicinity watched but didn’t intervene.
In recognition of his bravery, the Mainz police department plans to present Scroggins with an award for heroism Thursday for his selfless deed on the evening of Jan. 6.
“He saved the victim’s life,” said Mainz police officer Rene Nauheimer.
Scroggins happened to be at the right place at the right time because of a little horseplay with his girlfriend. The two were wrestling around at home earlier in the day, when she accidentally bumped her head. In the process, she apparently suffered a slight concussion.
“She was trying to do a wrestling move on me,” Scroggins said. “It didn’t work out.”
So the couple went to the University Clinic in Mainz to get her checked out. While they were waiting, a commotion ensued in a nearby seating area. Scroggins left her to see what all the fuss was about and from that point on events unfolded at a rapid and confused clip.
The victim was seated; the assailant stood behind him. Scroggins approached from behind, initially thinking the perpetrator was punching the victim.
“We think [the fight] had something to do with drugs,” Nauheimer said Wednesday.
Scroggins came up from behind the aggressor, slipped his arms under the man’s arms and yanked upward, more or less executing a full nelson. Just a fraction of a second before the wrestling move, Scroggins remembered seeing the attacker withdraw a knife from the victim’s side.
With the assailant neutralized and the weapon on the floor, a doctor rushed up to Scroggins and told him to release the man. The doctor took control of the situation. Meanwhile, hospital personnel begin to tend to the injured man, who by now, with a severed artery, was bleeding profusely.
Scroggins re-entered the picture seconds later when the attacker attempted to flee. A brief chase ensued before Scroggins took the man down for good, or at least until German police arrived on the scene.
Nauheimer said the victim suffered several stab wounds to a leg, arm, neck and torso. Scroggins came away unscathed.
“I’m still kind of embarrassed by the whole thing,” Scroggins said. He added: “All this hero stuff is kind of weird to me.”