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MMA student takes down CVS customer threatening employee

A man trained in mixed martial arts used moves he learned in a self-defense class to detain a disorderly man at a CVS until D.C. police arrived.

WASHINGTON — Marquise Brown has been taking mixed martial arts (MMA) classes at Capital MMA & Elite Fitness for nearly three years, but he didn't expect to use what he's learned while shopping for ice at a CVS. When another customer made what appeared to be threatening movements against a store employee, Brown stepped in. 

Brown was on his way to MMA class when he stopped for ice at a Brookland CVS in the 3600 block of 12th Street, Northeast. He said he had seen the manager and a man outside the store engaged in an argument, but after the man walked away and the manager closed the door, he thought it was over. Brown said he entered the store and started his shopping. As he was making his way towards the front of the store to check out, he saw the same man from outside again arguing with the CVS manager. 

Brown said the man was getting increasingly angry, and when he pulled out a "black object that looked like a foldable knife," Brown said his training kicked in. 

"When I saw the black object, I thought I might need to get involved, so I got in an angle behind him," Brown said. "When I clearly identified it was a knife, I grab him and bring him to the ground with a take-down that I practice normally." 

Brown held the man on the ground until police arrived, and said he made sure to drop the man on his shoulder, not his face, when he took him down as he "didn't want him to get hurt either." 

D.C. police who responded to the scene said the man didn't have a knife, and the police report does not list any weapons found on scene. Officers checked the man's background and when they found he didn't have a knife, they banned him from the store and released him. 

"We train every single day for stuff like this," Brown said. "I don't really feel like a hero, I just hope it spreads awareness on learning how to protect yourself."

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