When Eric Wesson saw a man with a gun approaching the St. Paul bar where he works security, he tried to be disarming.
The bouncer at Johnny Baby's tells the Pioneer Press he smiled at the man and offered some friendly words.
When that didn't work he used another method to disarm the gunman. Wesson protected more than 150 customers who were inside the bar by charging at the man to take his gun from him. In the struggle that followed two shots were fired. But no one was injured.
The gunman was later convicted, police tell the Pioneer Press. And on Wednesday Wesson received the Chief's Award for Valor from Police Chief Thomas Smith.
According to the newspaper the chief told Wesson his actions were heroic, adding: "We don't know what that suspect may have done if he was allowed inside of the bar. ... You displayed a great amount of courage when you chose to disarm the suspect and protect the customers in the bar."
Chief Smith also presented awards of merit to a handful of others who rescued fellow citizens. Two saved a young man from drowning in Como Lake. Three helped a woman who was pinned between two cars when a vehicle that had been parked rolled into her.
The other recipient, Rene Martinez, spent nearly an hour talking with a suicidal stranger on a bridge over Interstate 94. Police arrived but the man preferred talking with Martinez and eventually stepped off the bridge with him, the Pioneer Press says.
Minneapolis held a similar award ceremony in February where 37 police officers and more than dozen civilians were honored, KSTP reports.
The St. Paul Police Department posted video of the award ceremony to their Facebook page.