63-Year-Old Fights Off Gun Toting Robber with Rear-Naked Choke

Written by Tom Ngo
August 16th, 2011

Fred Kemp

Note to self: If I’m ever in the Boynton Beach, Florida area, don’t mess with 63-year-old Fred Kemp. Why? Because I’ll likely end up looking as stupid as Richard Nowling did last Thursday.

Kemp and his wife, Julie, had finished their dinner at Hurricane Alley and started walking to their car that was parked just around the block. After Kemp escorted Julie into the passenger seat and closed the door, Nowling emerged from the dark and jammed a gun in Kemp’s face demanding money.

Nowling proceeded to pistol whip the 5-foot-7, 150 pound Kemp. Little did the perpetrator know, the man he thought would be easily pickings turned out to be a former scholarship wrestler from Hofstra University. He’s also the current wrestling coach for the New York State Junior Olympic Team and volunteer assistant wrestling coach at American University in Washington, D.C.

“He started to hit me, so I reacted from there,” Kemp told SunSentinel. “I got him out into the street and held his arm. I foot-sweeped him down and I was trying to get a hold of the gun. He banged me up a little bit but my main concern was the gun.”

Kemp then took Nowling’s back and locked in a vicious rear-naked choke that would have put countless Brazilian jiu jitsu practitioners to shame.

“He asked me to let him go when I had him down,” Kemp shared. “I said, ‘No, I’m not going to do that.'”

Julie then grabbed the weapon, which turned out to be an authentic-looking pellet gun, and had it locked on Nowling until police arrived.

Nowling was arrested and charged with armed robbery and aggravated battery. The 41-year-old’s criminal history includes drug, theft and burglary charges.

“In retrospect, it’s not a wise move, but it was my reflexes and I’m fairly comfortable in being able to handle myself,” Kemp stated. “So I did what came natural. I’m happy that no one got hurt and a guy like that is off the street.”

The Kemps will celebrate their 12th anniversary next month.

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