Man hailed as a hero for saving guard shot in Windsor robbery

WINDSOR, Calif. (KGO) -- A Vietnam veteran is being hailed as a hero after helping a guard who police say was shot by two men who robbed an armored truck in Windsor on Tuesday.

Both suspects have since been arrested.

WATCH VIDEO: Two suspects in Windsor armed robbery, shooting identified

Michael Barbitta is a Vietnam veteran who served on a river boat in the infamous Mekong Delta, a place where there was a lot of action during the war. In fact, that war experience served him well Tuesday as he was calm, collected and he knew exactly what to do. "He was laying on the ground saying: 'I'm going to die, I'm going to die, I'm dying, I'm dying' and I basically was saying, 'You're talking, so that's good,"' Barbitta said.

Barbitta's combat experience paid off when he rushed to the side of the Loomis armored truck guard who had been shot several times.

Barbitta was about 30 feet away from where the armed robbery happened in front of the Chase bank in a busy shopping complex.

It was about 2 p.m. when the armored truck was parked. "This vehicle pulled up behind very quickly, two individuals jumped out of the vehicle and approached the rear. The guy I could see really clearly, he was the driver, and he had a rifle. He just pumped off two shots and of course the guard was behind the truck, boom, boom, fired off two shots immediately after getting around the front of his car," Barbitta said.

The robbers sped off in their car. Barbitta got paper towels from the Verizon store next to the bank and rushed to the wounded guard. "Ripped off the towels, put it on the major leg wound, it was a six-inch gash, it was a real vicious wound you know," Barbitta said.

He was able to stop the bleeding until police and paramedics arrived.

The two suspects were later captured in Calistoga, Napa County. The first was taken into custody on a stretcher. An officer rammed his patrol car into him after the suspect allegedly took a shot at him.

Numerous law enforcement agencies used dogs and a CHP chopper and eventually found the second man in a creek bed behind a mobile home park.

Barbitta says he did just what came naturally to him. "Like in Vietnam when you get hit, you know you're training, you respond," he said.

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