Ex-soldier wrestles shotgun from attacker, saves sister, Melbourne police say

Andrew Samaj III arrested on attempted murder charges

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MELBOURNE, Fla. - It was supposed to be a relaxing day with his nephew, but Zach Brantley found himself wresting a shotgun from a man who was after his sister on Wednesday.

"An armed suspect tried to shoot at my family, and it didn't work for him because I took him down," Brantley, who said he served in the Army for five years, told Local 6 News partner Florida Today.

Melbourne police identified the suspect as Andrew Samaj III, 29, who was arrested on charges of attempted murder, aggravated assault and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Police said Samaj was a regular patron at a strip club in North Carolina where Brantley's sister used to work.

Brantley said he, his sister and his nephew were walking out of Incredible Pets on North Wickham Road when a man approached them with a shotgun. Brantley said the man told him to take the boy and move away from his sister, but Brantley tackled the man in the parking lot and wrestled for the gun.

In the process, the shotgun fired, but nobody was hit.

Brantley said his sister retrieved his .45 Sig-Sauer from their car, but the gun jammed when she tried to cock it. He said they had to rack the slide several times to clear the jam and then held the suspect at gunpoint until police arrived.

"Her brother saved her life," said Sgt. Scott Lindsley.

"He tried to shoot my sister," Brantley said. "And he didn't. I won."

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