STRATFORD - A Stratford man who was shot while stopping an armed robbery one year ago was honored on Sunday for his courage and quick thinking.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal presented Dennis Turner with a special commendation during a ceremony on the Norwalk Green.
Police say Dennis Turner physically attacked an armed robber at Dolly's Deli in Stratford. The act of heroism was captured on surveillance video.
The video shows Turner hitting the gunman over the head with a beer bottle then using his skills as a wrestler to pin him onto the ground.
Turner, a father of three who works in the health care field, spoke publically for the first time about his heroic actions on Sunday, telling News 12 he is no longer afraid of retaliation by the gunman.
Sen. Blumenthal said the honors are long overdue.
"This kind of heroism and courage is really rare," said Sen. Blumenthal. "Dennis had to act in a split second when he was tested to protect himself, but also everybody in that store."
Turner, a life-long churchgoer, says he prayed before deciding what to do. He says that when he looks back at the surveillance video, he realized he made the right set of decisions.
It all began when Turner says he walked into the store that day to play the lottery as usual when the gunman walked in. Turner says that he did not take the gunman seriously at first.
"We're looking at him and we're like, nah, this isn't real," says Turner. "We're laughing at him because we thought it was a joke. When he cocked the gun it wasn't a joke."
Turner, whose brother was killed in a robbery on Mother's Day in 1995, vowed not to become the victim.
Turner says a gunshot grazed his neck, less than an inch from his jugular, when he wrestled the gunman to the floor.
"You got to think quick, act fast and pray that you have a good outcome, and I was fortunate to have a good outcome," says Turner.
Stratford officials tell News 12 they plan to honor Turner for his bravery at a public ceremony later this month.