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Blind Man Kills Would-Be Robber With Martial Arts

October 11, 1996

PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ Courtney Beswick couldn’t see his assailant, but the blind man used his martial arts training to flip the attacker over his shoulder and place him in a wrestling hold until police arrived.

The would-be robber was declared dead at the hospital, but police say charges probably won’t be filed because Beswick acted in self defense Wednesday. Neighbors say the dead man had bullied Beswick, 28 and blind since birth.

``Courtney said he asked the guy to leave him alone more than once,″ Barbara Harper said. ``He told the guy that he wasn’t giving him his money, but the man kept bothering him.″

The dead man, Anthony Ervin, had been arrested eight times in the last nine years on assorted robbery, weapons and assault charges, police said.

Reached at home, Beswick said he was not injured, but would not otherwise discuss what happened. In 1987, he was named Most Valuable Wrestler for the Eastern Atlantic Association for Schools for the Blind.

``He’s a good guy,″ neighbor Kareem White said. ``Nobody ever picks on him or anything. But this guy did, and he got what he deserved.″

Police were called to the Germantown section of Philadelphia after 8 p.m. and found Beswick, who lives with his mother and younger sister, sitting on top of Ervin, Cpl. Jim Pauley said.

Beswick told investigators Ervin had identified himself as a police officer, then said he had a gun and demanded money. Ervin kept fighting after Beswick threw him over his shoulder, so he put him in a wrestling hold, Beswick told police.

``He’s not a killer,″ Harper said. ``He and his mother told me they even said a prayer for the guy.″

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