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Old October 26th 04, 04:24 PM
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Russell R. Rogers picked the wrong restaurant to rob Sunday afternoon,
Vancouver police said.

Professional "extreme fighter" Benji Radach of Longview and his training
partner tackled Rogers, 64, after he tried to hold up Elmer's Restaurant
with a gun, police officers and restaurant workers said.

"You see it movies and you go over it in your mind, but you never deal with
it in real life," Radach said.

Radach, also known as "The Razor," felt he had a good chance of overpowering
Rogers. The 25-year-old Longview resident is trained in Pankration, a
combination of kickboxing, judo, wrestling and other martial arts --- in
which the goal is to render the opponent helpless or senseless.

"I just know that I've been training for a long time and more than most
people. And especially more than someone who's a crook and probably doesn't
train," said Radach, who is 6 feet tall and 185 pounds.

Radach has appeared on pay-per-view bouts for the Ultimate Fighting
Championship, has competed nationally in freestyle wrestling and has a
combined 23-3 record. He says he plans to open a training gym in Longview in
two weeks.

Radach said he and his training partner, 28-year-old Dennis Hallman of
Olympia, and two women were having a late breakfast at the Elmer's on Mill
Plain Boulevard around 2 p.m.

Rogers burst in from the parking lot, head and neck wrapped in a scarf,
demanding money from the cashier, employees later told Elmer's restaurant
manager Lorrie Whitlow. A few of the customers fled through the restaurant's
emergency doors. The cashier and one of the managers started to hand over
money, as they are trained to do, Whitlow said.

Radach and Hallman's two companions ducked under the table.

Radach took off his jacket and stood up.

"I kind of went over it in my mind, and walked over there," he said.

As Rogers looked to his left and yelled that he had a gun, Radach moved
behind him to his right. He grabbed Rogers with a wrist lock, relieving him
of his pistol. Radach forced Roger's hands to his back and pushed him
chest-first to the ground. Radach said he then knocked Rogers unconscious
with a blow to the head.

Radach said Hallman backed him up, making sure that Rogers had no other
weapons as they manhandled him to the ground.

Rogers, of Camas, Wash., was brought to the Clark County Jail and faces a
charge of first-degree robbery, Vancouver police said.

Radach admitted later that the decision may have been "stupid," because he
could have been hurt or killed.

"All he had to do was to turn to his right and he could have shot me. But
for some reason I felt I could do it. I saw the way (he was looking) and I
felt that if I could just get his gun, I could get him to the ground."

Radach's father, Kim Radach of Castle Rock, said he was happy it turned out
well, but still scolded his son.

"I should be proud, but the things that goes through a parent's mind ...
that guy could have turned around and (Benji) could have been bleeding or
dead on the ground," he said.

Whitlow said the grateful restaurant management bought lunch for their two
"cowboys" --- so named for their cowboy hats -- and wouldn't be surprised if
there were more rewards later.

But she warned other would-be heroes to think about the possible
consequences when interrupting an armed robbery.

"I wouldn't recommend that anyone do that," Whitlow said. "But this time, it
was a positive result."