A San Jose State University assistant professor became a local hero when he thwarted a bank robbery in downtown San Jose on Monday afternoon by holding the suspect in a bear hug until police arrived.Kim Komenich was standing in line at about 3:30 p.m. on Monday at the Wells Fargo at 121 South Market St.when he overheard a man informing a teller he had a gun and ordering her to give him money, police Officer Jose Garcia said.When the suspect, later identified as Victor Fernandes, 45, handed the teller a note and then reached into his pocket, Komenich grabbed him from behind and held him in a bear hug for three to four minutes until officers arrived and took him into custody, Garcia said.No one was injured and no weapons were found on the Fernandes or his alleged accomplices, Garcia said. He said Fernandes, as well as two accomplices who stayed behind in the waiting area of the bank during the attempted robbery, may have been under the influence of alcohol. The accomplices were identified as Tamara Rennert, 39, and Johnnie Gray, 40. All three suspects were booked into the Santa Clara County main jail on attempted robbery charges. Garcia said all three are San Jose area transients.Komenich teaches new media studies at SJSU. He worked as a staff photographer and editor for the San Francisco Chronicle from 2000 to 2009 and the San Francisco Examiner from 1982 to 2000. In 1987, he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his photographs of the Philippine Revolution. Garcia said Komenich’s decision to be a good Samaritan was praise-worthy, but also dangerous. “Although we praise his actions, at the same time we recommend the public not intervene in that way, because there are so many ways this could have gotten wrong,” Garcia said.He advised residents in such situations to be a good witness by remaining calm and taking a mental note of the suspect or suspects’ ethnicity, clothing and any other information that would be useful to police.
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