A 20-year-old member of Cal Poly’s Delta Sigma Phi fraternity recalled Monday how he knocked a gun away from an armed robber, and then tackled the man down a flight of stairs before police swarmed the suspect.
Forrest Baker, a junior majoring in civil engineering, acted quickly when the gunman — later identified by San Luis Obispo police as 19-year-old Cameron Marcel Akins — was distracted by the arrival of a police officer.
“The whole time I was looking for an opportunity to grab his gun,” Baker said. “He didn’t look like he really knew what he was doing. As soon as the cops came, I figured that would be a good time.”
Baker has training in jujitsu and mixed martial arts, and he tried to stay calm during the incident, which lasted about 10 to 15 minutes.
Baker said he was awoken by his roommate in the early morning about the commotion in an outside patio area toward the back of the property at 244 California Blvd.
He went outside his room, which faces the patio, to discover a man with a handgun pointed at the chest at one of his fraternity brothers.
Noticing his fellow Delta Sigma Phi member so scared he was unable to talk, Baker told the man to point the gun his way and that he’d help him.
Baker began leading the gunman up an outside stairway near the back of the fraternity house to a second-floor balcony, he said.
During the course of the incident, Baker said the man pointed the gun at his chest, back and head.
Baker stands 6-foot-3 and weighs 187 pounds. He said the suspect was about the same size.
“He was saying, ‘Show me where the (expletive) money is’ and ‘Don’t call the cops’ and ‘I’ll (expletive) kill you if I see the cops,’ ” Baker said. “With any burglar, I assume they’re looking for some sort of valuables. So I was like, ‘Sure, I’ll get you any of our valuables.’ ”
San Luis Obispo police officers said Monday they were looking into the possibility that prescription drugs may have had something to do with the incident. But Baker denies any drug-related activity at the fraternity house.
“I can assure you that no one from our fraternity was selling or (abusing) prescription drugs here,” Baker said. “I don’t know where that idea came from.”
During the incident, Baker said the intruder appeared "extremely anxious" and his hand shook as he held the gun.
“I could tell he wasn’t like a criminal,” Baker said. “I didn’t think he’d actually shoot anyone.”
Baker said he didn’t intend to direct the man to any money; he was stalling the gunman until help arrived.
Baker learned later that fellow fraternity member, Nicholas Rimicci, was held at gunpoint before the gunman turned his attention to another student.
Rimicci was allowed to go free and sneaked away to call police.
Another fraternity member, who wasn’t identified by police, was being held at gunpoint at the stairwell at the time Baker got involved.
When the first police officer arrived, the gunman turned to look at him, and that’s when Baker grabbed the man’s arm and bent it behind his back, knocking the firearm out of his hand.
As the man tried to flee, Baker jumped on his back and tackled him. They tumbled down the stairs together.
After the fall, a group of police officers rushed toward the gunman and detained him, while he was "freaking out" and fighting back, Baker said.
Some of the other fraternity members joined in the dogpile as well, according to Baker.
“It was a real intense fight on,” Baker said. “We got off for a second, and the police officers were like ‘No, get back on.’ No one knew if he still had the gun on him or not. Everyone was wondering where the gun was, but I’d knocked it out.”
Baker said he may have fractured his right foot during the altercation and was planning to see a doctor Monday.
Baker said the gunman may have been looking for the money that fraternity members collect during fundraisers. Baker said he didn’t know how much money was in the house, but no large amounts were stashed away, he added.
Sixteen people are living in the house this summer, and most were present during Sunday’s incident. During the school year, about 30 people live there, Baker said.