LOS ANGELES — Some intruder picked the wrong house to menace. That’s what happened this past week when a gate-crasher in Salt Lake City, Utah, came face to face with a Mormon bishop — who was wielding a Samurai sword.
Kent Hendrix’s teenage son pounded on his bedroom door, telling him somebody was being mugged in front of their house. Hendrix, a fourth-degree black belt and instructor in the Kishindo form of martial arts, grabbed the closest weapon — a 29-inch high-carbon steel sword — and went to investigate.
As his son called 911, the 47-year-old Hendrix, who is also a Mormon bishop, said he came upon a fight between a woman and a man. He raised his weapon and told the man to get on the ground.
“His eyes just got huge, as big as saucers,” the father of six told the Los Angeles Times. “I drew on him and he backpedaled and he jumped into the ivy, saying, ‘I’m leaving! I’m leaving! I’m leaving!’ I don’t think he’s ever had anyone draw a sword on him before.”
The suspect ran. But Hendrix, who said he’s collected martial arts weapons for 30 years, gave chase. Even though he was barefoot.
Not far away, the man dropped his ChapStick as he reached for his car keys, Hendrix recalled.
“He stopped and for a moment, I could see him thinking, ‘Do I grab my ChapStick?’ I mean, was it that important?”
The man jumped into his car, with the barefoot bishop still in pursuit.
“I was so mad,” he told The Times. “I didn’t want him to think that he had won. I teach my female students in my classes that it’s best to preserve evidence. So I yelled at him, ‘I’ve got your DNA and I’ve got your license plate: You are so done.’ “
The suspect, 37-year-old Grant Eggersten, turned himself in to police an hour later and was booked on charges of robbery, attempted burglary, trespassing and violation of a stalking injunction.
Hendrix, who works as a pharmaceutical statistician, was one of several people who came to the aid of the woman, who lives in the neighborhood. But no one else was wielding a sword. The bishop for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said it was the first time in 30 years of practicing martial arts that he’s used the sword.
He says he keeps the weapon by his bed.
“I’ve trained with this weapon for years, and this was the first time I really needed it,” he said. “Some people have their bats — I have my sword.”
“I’m actually glad I didn’t have to wing on him,” he told The Times. “He jumped in the right direction. But if I had, I wouldn’t have swung to chop anything off, but to cut, maybe a calf or a triceps or biceps. Anything to keep him from re-engaging with my neighbor.”