The security officer, Phil Weirs single-handedly tackled Sean Monger as he pointed AK47 in face of terrified children and shoppers.
Phil Weirs tackled and detained Sean Monger just outside a Tesco Express in Cowick Street, Exeter.
Monger, 51, of Maple Road, Exeter, admitted seven offences, including possessing an imitation firearm with intent, and was jailed for four-and-a-half years at Exeter Crown Court today (Wednesday 15 May).
Mr Weirs wasn't sure whether the gun was a fake when he wrestled it from the offender’s grasp, was awarded a judge’s commendation. Devon and Cornwall Police has also nominated him for a national award.
Monger, who was dressed in black and wearing a mask, threatened to shoot people outside the store on November 14 last year.
Superintendent Matt Lawler, the local policing commander for Exeter, East and Mid Devon, said:
“It is obvious to say that this incident caused extreme distress, especially to the children who were instructed by Monger to lie down on the floor as he threatened them.
“There was absolutely no way anyone could have known at the time that it was a deactivated weapon.
"The response of the store security guard, Phil Weirs, was simply heroic.
"His instinctive bravery in stepping forward and wrestling the weapon away was incredibly courageous and selfless - he put himself between the rifle and the children.