It was closing time at the Little Caesars restaurant in Holly Hill, Florida. An employee of the pizza chain, Heriberto Feliciano, 28, had just finished checking the security system and was locking up the store for the night.
Before he knew what was happening, he found himself facing a crazed man wearing a clown mask, armed with a wooden post. The man proceeded to land several blows on Feliciano, but the post eventually snapped in two. The assailant then pulled out a pair of scissors and attempted to stab Feliciano, who by then was pinned to the ground. At that point, it was clear to Feliciano that this clown had no intention of stopping.
Feliciano was then able to pull out his legally registered, concealed carry weapon and fire several shots at close range, striking and disabling his attacker. He then placed his firearm on the trunk of his car and dialed 9-1-1. While on the phone with dispatchers, the gravity of the situation hit Feliciano and he began to sob, “Please, please hurry up. Please help me. I think he’s dying!”
Dispatchers asked if he could administer CPR to the downed suspect. Feliciano stated, “He tried to stab me with a pair of scissors. He hit me in the face with a piece of wood. I’m bleeding all over the place!”
Holly Hill police, who had received multiple calls reporting shots fired, arrived to find Feliciano badly beaten and horribly bloodied. The suspect, however, had been neutralized and was taken to Halifax Health Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead. Police later identified the man as Jesse Coggins, age 53, of Greenville, North Carolina. Police do not yet know why or how long Coggins had been in the Volusia County area. He had no local history of arrest.
Police Chief Stephen Aldrich later stated, “It was an ambush-type of an attack and it does appear that he (Feliciano) was defending himself. I’m glad that he was able to defend himself and that he’s OK. It’s just unfortunate that this whole episode occurred.”
Surveillance video showed Coggins lurking outside the store, seemingly in anticipation of closing time. As midnight approached, he walked toward the back of the store with what appeared to be a wooden post. That’s when surveillance footage shows him striking Feliciano with the wooden post in the face and neck, after which the two men move out of the video frame.
“This is unusual for the city of Holly Hill and we take this very seriously,” Chief Aldrich said. “That’s why we are aggressively following up at this point.”
911 audio clearly shows Feliciano’s concern over the incident, as he can be heard lamenting, “Man, I’m going to jail for this!”
Local resident Carlton Akins commended Feliciano and his actions, saying, “I’m sorry the guy got killed, but he got what he deserved.”
No charges will be filed.
All images: iStock