Tilman Holmes, 65, of Southeast Washington, is a good Samaritan, but according to friends and relatives and police he "doesn't take no stuff."
"He don't believe a gun will shoot," said Freddie Inman, Holmes' best friend. "You pull a gun on him and he'll grab it."
And that's exactly what Holmes did yesterday about 3 a.m.
According to police and relatives, Holmes was driving in the 1900 block of East Capitol Street when a man flagged him down.
The man told Holmes that he couldn't get his car started. First, Holmes tried to jump start the man's car. The car wouldn't move.
Then, the man told Holmes he was out of gas and asked him if he would take him to find some gas.
Holmes took the man to several stations, but they were all closed. During the trip to the stations, the man asked Holmes if he had any money.
Holmes replied no. The man asked Holmes to take him home so he could get some money to buy the gas.
Holmes took the man to a Northeast Washington address. After being in the house for a few minutes, the man returned to the car with a bag that resembled "a big Army duffel bag."
Then, the man directed Holmes through a schoolyard at Sixth Street and Brentwood Road NE, near a service station. As Holmes drove to the rear of the schoolyard the man pulled a sawed-off shotgun from the bag and told him, "This is as far as it goes."
Holmes knocked the shotgun out of the man's hand with his right arm, which only recently had emerged from a cast following another attempted holdup.
He hit the man with his fist, then grabbed the shotgun and beat his assailant about the head.
The right rear of his gray Pontiac station wagon yesterday was still covered with specks of blood from the beating.
Police said Louie Coe Jr., 22, of 1019 Eighth St. NE, was admitted to D.C. General Hospital, where he was listed in stable condition. He has been charged with assault with a dangerous weapon.
Holmes could not be reached for comment yesterday but relatives and friends said they were not surprised by the incident.
"He's always doing favors," said a relative. "He doesn't like to see people stranded." "He's an old man but he doesn't take no stuff from nobody," said his 25-year-old grandson, who asked not to be identified.
His grandson said, "Some time ago, some young guy tried to rob" his grandfather at gunpoint in an alley. His grandfather grabbed the gun and told the youth, "I eat guns."
Holmes' daughter-in-law said Holmes suffered three gunshot wounds in the right arm and abdomen in an incident in April.
In that case a man pulled a gun on Holmes in Holmes' third floor apartment and demanded money. But Holmes refused and started walking toward the man with the gun.
The man shot him three times, before jumping out a third-floor window. The man was treated for a broken leg and later arrested.