By Greg Goodyear
Have you ever seen the television program “What Would You Do?” If the answer is yes, then put yourself in the following situation and imagine how big a hero you would be; or not.
That’s exactly what former Culver City High football player, Jason Grossman did a couple of weeks ago. He put his gridiron skills and bravado to the ultimate test while confronting a purse thief.
Jason and his dad Jay Grossman, an employee of Alaska Airlines, flew into Las Vegas on the morning of May 13. They checked into The Bluegreen Club 36, a time-share on Tropicana just off the strip. They had just watched a playoff game between the Cavs and the Celtics with Jason’s friend, who plays on the Akron basketball team.
Jason, Culver City High class of 2015, and former Centaur slot receiver on the varsity football team is now playing for the University of Akron (Ohio).
The three men decided to head over to New York, New York Casino and hang out a bit and then take a walk on the strip.
They were traveling in two cars with Jason’s friend in his own vehicle. As Jason and his father were backing out of a parking lot, a man approached their car and asked if they had seen an African-American man wearing red shorts, who he claimed had just beaten an older woman and ripped the purse from her hands.
The Grossmans’ said they had not seen any suspect and then headed down Tropicana Boulevard. They immediately spotted a young man fitting the suspect’s description, who was running with a purse. The suspect made a left turn and jumped down a gully with a walkway on the side and a water stream in the middle.
Jason described the man as approximately 5 foot 10 inches, 170 pounds, with dark skin and wearing a black tank top. This is approximately Jason’s height and weight.
Without any thought for his own safety, Jason jumped out of the car and sprinted after the suspect. Unaware of Jason’s pursuit, the suspect had about a 40-yard head start at this point. Once Grossman got to the gully, the suspect was jogging toward Harmon Avenue. The suspect scaled a 6-foot high block wall and was then in the parking lot of the Alexis Park Resort.
Jason jumped the fence but did not see the suspect immediately, so he began searching in between the rows of the resort units. Somebody tipped off Grossman that the suspect was on the other side of the resort.
At this point, Jason started walking toward the hotel lobby, where he spotted the man in the red shorts. Now the suspect noticed Jason and took off running again — with a 10 to 12-yard lead.
Grossman was in hot pursuit, hurdling a table (just like O.J. running through an airport in an old Hertz rental car commercial), while screaming at the suspect, “stop, stop!”
The suspect ran out onto Harmon Avenue, a four-lane highway with no center divider, but caught a break in the traffic. Jason, now a few yards behind the suspect, said, “I slowed slightly, glanced to see that there was no traffic and then sped up and tackled him from behind in the middle of Harmon Avenue.”
Both men went down hard. Jason, who was in shorts, scraped his knees. He immediately applied a headlock on the suspect. The suspect’s blood was dripping down Grossman’s arm.
The suspect stopped resisting Jason, who does weight training for football. Jason clamped on a powerful headlock; the man remained conscious but was talking incoherently.
A security officer from Alexis Park came over to help out. but just stood by to make sure the suspect did not run. Jason’s dad drove up in his car and got out and flopped onto the suspect’s back, pinning him down.
After about five minutes, two police cars arrived. Officers questioned each of the people at the scene. Then a third police car arrived, with now six officers on the scene. They had just taken a report from the victim describing the attacker.
The six officers surrounded the suspect and questioned him. Without warning, the suspect took off running in an attempt to escape. But the officers subdued the man after only a few feet and handcuffed him.
Upon searching the suspect, they found a Mexican passport, some pesos and about 10 credit cards with a different name on each card. The police arrested the man and took him away. Jason and his dad filed a written report on the spot.
All in a day’s work? Jason Grossman answered the call, but the question remains: What would you have done?