Lakeland, Florida - Jason Bohannan, 29, was out shopping for fishing gear with his 14-year-old stepson last Saturday when he witnessed something that caused him to jump out of his car and risk his life for his community.
It happened at a busy Lakeland Walmart store at 3501 South Florida Avenue. He says, "If you can come here on a Friday or a Saturday night, you'll drive up and down these aisle's to get a parking place."
Bohannan says there were hundreds of people at the store. They were leaving after buying some fishing gear, and after an odd encounter with a man in the checkout lane. He says, "He basically started mumbling things about fishing and I told my stepson, 'Don't even say nothing. Let's just get out here.'"
Bohannan and his son left and so did the man, who was talking to them. Lakeland police say that man was 61-year-old Michael Baggett. Detectives say Baggett walked out of the store without paying for items he'd picked up in the store. They say he had a fishing reel and hooks, a headlight, and some computer equipment.
Bohannan was in his car leaving the parking lot, he says, when he noticed something. "I looked up at the front of the store and seen him scuffling with security and he pushed one of them down. He then pushed another lady down."
But he says he wasn't going to get involved until he says he saw Baggett punch an elderly female clerk.
Bohannan says, pointing to his jaw, "He hit her in the face. She went down to the ground and he just kicked the buggy over and came running through the parking lot."
Bohannan bailed out of his car and left his stepson behind to chase Baggett behind a row of businesses. He says Baggett started scaling fences and ran behind a retention pond."
Bohannan says he wasn't really scared either. "It feels good to be on the other side of the law."
He knows all about stealing. He's a convicted felon who served 11 years in prison for theft before being released eight months ago.
His pastor says he's worked hard to turn his life around and holds down a full-time job while being active at church.
Assistant Pastor Mark Bedwell says, "That's Jason. He's just got that, 'I'm going to do whatever it takes to help whoever I can.' It's almost like he's catching up for those 11 years that he lost."
Thanks to Jason, Lakeland Police arrested Baggett, who won't be fishing anytime soon. Detectives say besides the stolen items they recovered from him they also found drugs.