Flagler County man who fended off shooting suspect receives life-saving award

Paul Ibelli helped get the gun away from a suspect at a nightclub, sheriff’s office says

FLAGLER COUNTY, Fla. – Paul Ibelli was honored by the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office on Thursday, credited with fighting off a shooting suspect last November in a nightclub.

“I don’t think I deserve it, I was just helping everybody out,” said Ibelli at the award ceremony.

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Ibelli said he doesn’t want praise for his actions on Nov. 20 of last year but the sheriff is making sure he knows how courageous he is.

“We’re very fortunate and everyone in that bar that night was fortunate,” said Sheriff Rick Staly.

Staly said on that day, Connor Anderson, 30, was at Smiles Nite Club when he couldn’t find his keys.

“Got in an argument over misplaced keys. Went back to his car, came back in with a gun, got another patron in a headlock that he was arguing with over his keys,” said the sheriff.

Staly said when Anderson put the woman in a headlock, the bartender, David Ghiloni, hopped the bar and Ibelli, who was a customer, jumped in to help her.

“Basically we were just trying to clear the place out and just ‘go home dude’ but it didn’t go that way,” said Ibelli.

All of it was captured on surveillance video.

“Dave and I were basically trying to bounce him out of there and then he pulled out the gun,” said Ibelli.

Staly said Anderson managed to fire several shots inside the bar.

“Fortunately, even though he was able to fire six rounds in that night club, which isn’t that big, no one was struck,” said the sheriff.

He said that was because of Ibelli and Ghiloni tackling Anderson and trying to take the gun out of his hands.

“I basically just tried to grab the gun out of his hand,” said Ibelli.

Ghiloni was also given a life-saving award but the sheriff gave it to him back in December before he moved away. The sheriff said if they hadn’t worked together on this the outcome could have been much worse.

“This individual could have been charged with homicide instead of aggravated assault and multiple other felonies,” said the sheriff.

Anderson has 15 charges against him with his case is still in court. He’s set to go to pretrial on Feb. 8.

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Molly joined News 6 at the start of 2021, returning home to Central Florida.