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“Kudos to you,” said self-defense expert Brannon Lebouef to musician Max Brabner.

The two were speaking in the 2000 block of Burgundy just days after Brabner more than survived the scare of a lifetime — he owned it.

“The anger kicked in, and I just wanted to beat the tar out of him,” Brabner said referring to the robber who stuck a shotgun in his face.  Brabner grabbed the shotgun and sent the robber running.  Security camera footage of the attempted robbery went viral on the web and led to cheers from many of the people who viewed it.

“It is perfectly normal,” Lebouef said of Brabner’s emotions.  “That is an absolutely normal and rational response to get angry.”

Lebouef gives Brabner high marks for his ability to grab the shotgun and take it away from his attack.  But the self-defense expert is a little more critical of what happened next.

Moments after Brabner got the gun, he had a second confrontation with the robber and at least one other person inside a black sedan.  Brabner had apparently lost his cellphone in the scuffle over the gun; the bad guys had it and offered to trade it for the shotgun.  Brabner responded by using the gun to smash the back window of the car.

Lebouef told Brabner that crime victims need to be careful any time they turn the tables on their attackers.  Depending upon the circumstances, they could actually be viewed as the aggressors.  Lebouef says chasing after suspects could lead to a whole new set of legal and life consequences.

“His buddy could have been sitting in a car right there and right when you went by, boom,” Lebouef said while using his hands to mimic the firing of a gun.

Lebouef also wanted to get a good idea of Brabner’s prior experience with firearms.  The musicians band is called Gunsy Reynalds, but that was Brabner’s grandfather’s name.  The musician said he had some prior hunting experience.  But then he revealed what may have really given him the confidence to respond so quickly.

Brabner says about five years ago he was standing on Oak Street when he saw a man pull up in a car and pull a gun on a woman who was also standing in the area.  Brabner hurried to help the woman by rushing the car and slamming the door on the gunman’s hand.

” Human instinct,” he said.  “Maybe something that we all have somewhere deep down.”

Brabner said he is usually more self-aware when walking in the Faubourg Marigny neighborhood.  Lebouef also added that sometimes fighting back is a victim’s worst option.

To learn more about self-defense tactics, consider taking a course from a trained expert.

Some people call him a hero.  But Spend some time with musician Max Brabner and you’ll probably notice his easy-going, amiable qualities first.

Easy going, that is, until he’s pushed too far.

Last weekend, Brabner was walking in the 2000 block of Burgundy while sending a text message to a friend.

“Usually, I try to be a little more self-aware.  In this circumstance, I was not paying attention to anybody,” Brabner said in an exclusive interview with WGNO News.

Brabner began paying very close attention when a robber with a shotgun ran up behind him, pumped the gun’s magazine, and stuck the muzzle in the musician’s face.  What happened next sparked cheers from people around the city — and beyond — as video of the attack made the rounds on tv and reached viral status online.

“I didn’t get excited for whatever reason,” he says.  “The anger kicked in, and I just wanted to beat the tar out of him.”

In an instant, the tables were turned.  Brabner grabbed the rifle’s barrel and gained control of the gun.  The would-be robber turned and ran.

“He took off.  He was so fast.  The kid should have a track scholarship somewhere.”

Moments later, the robber returned — with other people — inside of a car and offered to trade the cell phone that Brabner dropped for the rifle he grabbed.  Brabner used the gun to smash the back windshield of the car.

Where did he find the courage?  The musician gets a little philosophical.

“Life is scary.  Death is easy.  Sounds kinda out there or whatever, but it’s true,” he told WGNO News while revisiting the scene of the crime.

During the interview, a passer-by called Brabner a hero.  Moments later, a group of his friends happened upon the interview scene and used similar words of praise.

But Brabner says he doesn’t feel like a hero.

“I think real heroes are the people that throw themselves in front of moving cars to save little kids and really to do things that are selfless in nature,” he said.  ” I was just trying to save my behind.”

Late Wednesday afternoon, New Orleans police announced the arrest of a suspect in the case of an attempted robbery in the Faubourg Marigny neighborhood.  Surveillance video of the attack has gone viral on the internet.

Police say a 16-year-old surrendered at the Eighth District police station with his attorney.

The surveillance video shows a robber run up on a man who was walking on Burgundy Street.  The robber sticks a shotgun in the victim’s face and demands money.

But in an instant the tables turn, and the intended victim grabs the shotgun.  The pair then run out of the camera’s eye.

Police say the robber had an accomplice who was waiting in a black sedan, possibly a Honda Accord.

There was no word Wednesday evening whether police were any closer to making a second arrest in the case.

I wonder which is quicker… the hands of the man who wrestled a shotgun from a robber in the Marigny early Sunday morning or the cheers of approval from people who watched the turning of the table on surveillance video.

Regardless, there’s a time to celebrate and a time to get cerebral.

“If you’re going to do it, immediately when you see the opening, do it,” said self-defense expert Brannon Lebouef from the shop of his company, NOLATAC.

Lebouef says the victim in the now viral video got a lot of things right.  But he also got lucky.  Lebouef says anyone who sees the footage and draws any self-defense conclusions for themselves could be dead wrong.

“The bad guy certainly made some mistakes, and I think it kind of helped throw luck in the good guy’s favor,” Lebouef said.

If you want to get a grip on your options during an armed robbery, Lebouef strongly suggests you take a self defense class from an expert.  He adds that sometimes simply surrendering is your best option.

captureThe surveillance video of the attack includes an audio track as well.  In it, you see and hear the robber pump his shotgun and aim it at the face of his victim.  You also see and hear the struggle over the gun as both men run out of the camera’s field of view.

The camera that captured the video is one in a network of cameras along the 2000 block of Burgundy in the Faubourg Marigny.  Ken Caron is one of the neighbors who helped create the network.

” He was pretty brave,” Caron said of the victim’s actions.  Caron says a review of surveillance footage from the night of the attempted robbery also shows what appears to be the suspect’s car circling the area prior to the confrontation.

“Six, seven times probably within less than 45 minutes,” he said.

Also the video released by police doesn’t show the suspect in his car — with an accomplice — circling and confronting the man again, this time, offering to trade the man’s phone for the shotgun he gained in the fight.  According to police, the victim responded by using the shotgun to smash the back window of the car.

Anyone with information on the case is asked to contact Crimestoppers at 504-822-1111.


(NEW ORLEANS POLICE) – Detectives are asking the public’s assistance in identifying a suspect wanted for an attempted armed robbery which occurred this past Saturday, around 5:05AM, 1900 block of Burgundy Street.

On Saturday, 4/27/13 at or about 5:05AM, the victim was walking in the 1900 block of Burgundy when he was approached by an unknown black male. The subject pointed a shotgun at the victim’s face and stated give me your money.  The victim disarmed the gunman and then chased him.

Moments later the victim was approached by two black males in the black four door sedan (possibly a Honda Accord).  The driver of the vehicle said to the victim “give me my gun back and I’ll give you your phone that you dropped”.   The victim then used the shotgun to strike the rear windshield of the vehicle causing it to break.  The two subjects then fled on Frenchmen to St. Claude and then unknown. The incident was captured on nearby video surveillance.

The gunman is described as an African American male, approximately 16-20 years of age, 6’00” tall with a thin build wearing a black hat and a black t-shirt.

Eighth District Detective Michael Flores is in charge of the investigation.

Citizens with information that can help solve these crimes are asked to call CRIMESTOPPERS at 822-1111 or toll-free 1-877-903-STOP.  You could receive a cash reward of up to $1,000 for the information leading to the arrest and indictment of the responsible person(s).  You do not have to give your name nor testify to receive the reward. Citizens can also submit an anonymous tip online to Crimestoppers at