Unarmed disarming

W. E. Quisenberry

Photo By Chelsey Shoop

W. E. Quisenberry, a second-generation CHP sergeant in Willows, went above and beyond the call of duty April 12 while shopping in the Chico Costco with his wife, who was on her first outing after surgery. Quisenberry, who usually carries his service revolver but this time had left it in the car, heard a shout for help and ran into the store’s back office. A man who had been caught allegedly trying to steal shoes had a knife to an employee’s throat. The woman was fighting for her life. Sgt. Quisenberry didn’t hesitate. He helped wrestle the man to the ground and disarm him, saving the woman’s life.

What happened that day in Costco?

While my wife and I were checking out, I heard a crashing noise. I kind of looked back in that direction. I thought it was somebody who passed out. An employee yelled, “We’re going to need some help in here.” I’m an EMT; I thought I could help. I had no inkling of the actual deadly situation going on in there.

What did you see in the room?

At the door a man was fighting with a female; they were very close. You could see the knife. Another man was against the wall. He had cuts in his shirt, on his abdomen. The man had the female by the throat. The female Costco employee was putting up quite a fight. She was already cut in the throat or jaw; he was trying to kill her.

Why did you go into the room?

I just figured I had to. I have a duty to act as an EMT, as a good samaritan. The scared look on the Costco employee’s face—he was literally trying to kill her. I couldn’t just sit by and watch it happen. I thought of it from the perspective of, I’m going to go in and help somebody. I’m just not the stand-around-with-your-hands-in-your-pockets kind of guy.

What does your wife say about the incident?

My wife had just had abdominal surgery, and it was her first time out of the house. She heard me yell, “He’s got a knife.” She knew I was unarmed. She couldn’t do anything. The Costco employees brought her a chair. She talks about it all the time. It’s not a big deal to me; it’s a big deal to her. I think she’d say she’s proud of me.

Would you do it again?

Yes. Most people think that no one’s going to stop and help. They’re surprised when anyone stops at all. I like to think lots of people would do the same. I hope someone would do the same thing for my wife.