MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE -- "That knife can’t hurt me, that knife can’t hurt me," Lance Cpl. Reno Juman repeated to himself over and over again. A decision had to be made and made quickly; he holstered his weapon, took a step toward the threat and hoped for the best.
On Feb. 15, a recently discharged Marine charged the Provost Marshal Office Marines standing post at the front gate of Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. Civilian officer corporal Richard Guy, a retired Marine, and Juman engaged with the Marine while he lunged and threatened them with an eight-inch ceramic blade.
"The justified action when someone’s coming at you with a deadly weapon would be to take that shot; that’s what we’re supposed to do," said Juman. "But I didn’t think for a second that it was the right thing to do."
Leaving his weapon in his holster, Juman and Guy inched forward slowly toward the much larger suspect. Juman stood less than 6 feet tall, slender frame, wearing his black tactical gloves that usually accompany him when taking post.
"We receive countless hours of decision making and force-continuum training," said Capt. Steven Cox, security company commander of Headquarters and Support Battalion. "We understand the resolutions of both and are prepared to deal with such situations."
As the attacker lunged at the officers with the blade, he was subdued with oleoresin capsicum spray, and Juman and Guy attempted to wrestle him to the ground.
The officers knocked the weapon out of his hand, but the fight wasn’t over yet.
"He reached toward my belt and started screaming ‘I’ve got your gun!’" said Juman. "From that point on, I’m under the impression that he has my weapon, and we had to treat the situation as such."
Juman locked the suspect in a headlock and didn’t dare to let go if it meant saving the lives of the Marines and civilian officers around him. Deranged and desperate, the suspect squeezed the first trigger he felt on Juman’s belt.
"Anything can happen when you’re out there," said Juman. "At that moment I just couldn’t consider trying to save myself when there were so many people around."
He heard the click, initially he prepared for the worst. But there was no gunshot, just a familiar beeping and clicking as Juman realized that the worst hadn’t happened. The suspect had grabbed his scanner.
Others came to his aid, the attacker was finally subdued in handcuffs, and Juman’s decision resulted in no loss of life that day.
"I wasn’t thinking all the way through, I can say that," Juman said as he cracked a slight smile after recalling the aftermath of the situation.
Juman received the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal as a result of his actions that day.
"Receiving that reward motivated me to keep following what I feel is right in my Marine Corps career," said Juman. "As I move on to my next unit, I just want to be able to contribute in the ways I know I can."
Walking in the Provost Marshal Office’s hallways, many of the other officers stopped and greeted him, calling him a hero for what he did that day.
"Lance Cpl. Juman’s actions undoubtedly saved a life as well as showed other Marines and civilians that MPs do have compassion and can resort to less-than-lethal means of resolution," said Cox.
Juman is currently waiting to execute orders to his new unit, 1st Battalion, 8th Marines.
"I can’t say I’m a hero that always puts his life ahead of someone else, I just tried to do what was right," said Juman. "Being able to go out there and do things and help people is great, but it’s better to do it the right way even if it’s not the easiest."