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When I worked for the Veteran’s Administration in Johnstown I was almost shot to death. We were located in the old Post Office. All the employees were at one level. I was in a corner. I had all glass windows on my office.

Leo is in center, rear, speaking with patient

So I’m sitting there doing my work, when I see our lawyer come out of the door across the hall. He’s all disheveled, you know. He comes in and says,

"This guy came in, he says he wants his money. I told him, ‘we don’t have your money.’ So he beat me up. Then he says, ‘where’s the head, the Chief?’ So I point to your office.

"Then I said ‘Look. You know the hospital you were at?’ He had a pass. I said, ‘The bank, the money’s in the bank. We don’t have your money.'

"So he says, ‘I’ll be back and I’ll put a bullet right through that tie.’ Then he left."

The patient’s name was Paul Lukas, same as the actor. I’ll never forget it. Big guy. The first thing I did was phone his home where his sister answered.

"Does your brother own a gun?"

After a long pause she said, "Yes. He just left and took it with him."

We had an armed guard. He used to stay way in the back where the trucks come in and out. I said to him "Look. I want you to do something. Just stand by the revolving door; you don’t have to do anything else. When this patient comes in, as soon as he walks past you, just grab him around the chest; just pin his arms to his side, we’ll take care of the rest."

Go to the book from which this is excerptedWell you know we couldn’t find the guard anyplace after that.

I’m sitting in my office and I see all the employees start to move back to the rear of the room. I lean over to see what it is. Here he is with a gun, pointing it to the ceiling. So I got out and stalked him step-by-step, thinking to myself " What the hell am I doing?"

I tackled him down to the floor. Soon as I went down on the floor, somebody else went down on the floor on top of us. It was his Father. And after that, I saw a couple of thick-soled shoes -- the police. Anyway, I took the gun from him; I sat him down; I calmed him down.

I always thought that he didn’t shoot me because I was like a she-lion, stalking her prey. Years later I realized that since he was heavily built and had his right arm pointing to the ceiling he couldn’t see me coming from his right side. I don’t know what would have happened if he did see me.

He might have put a bullet right through me.