Many of us will experience the bitterness of a failed relationship at some point in our lives—learning to move on is part of life. For some, that’s too much of a burden to bear, though, and the consequences can prove tragic.
A trio of office furniture movers from Chicago witnessed one such case play out right before their eyes while they were on the job one fateful morning. Thankfully, they stepped in and prevented what could have ended in murder.
— NBC Chicago (@nbcchicago) October 21, 2016
A woman working as an office manager for Skyline Smiles dental office saw her ex-boyfriend enter the establishment on that day. Disgruntled and dangerous, he pulled out a gun. She knew her life was in mortal danger.
She made a break for the back door of the office and escaped into the alley. That’s when the three movers, Josh Lara, Cody Grandt, and Mike Zaininger, saw her. They were just kidding around at the start of their shift by their moving truck.
She knew her ex was hot on her tail, so quickly she asked them if she could use their phone to call the police. She was hysterical and shaking, and the look in her eyes spoke volumes.
“We could just feel the vibe that she was giving off,” Grandt later told WGN9. “It was something serious, it was no joke.”
They got on the phone with emergency services, but there was still the immediate danger of the gun-wielding man coming at them at any moment.
“She knew she was being looked for, the way she was hiding,” said Zaininger. “Our immediate reaction was, ‘Get in the truck.’”
They told her to climb up the ramp and get into the back of the moving truck. There were piles of boxes inside where they could all hide behind. Thankfully, the truck was facing in a direction where they would be hidden from his view.
Her ex was hunting her down with a gun when these everyday heroes stepped in.
The woman’s ex never did find them, fortunately. They heard a woman scream from outside the truck, and that was it. Later, they learned that the man, 37-year-old Clint Engle, had turned the gun on himself in the alley and was pronounced dead on the scene when the police arrived.
Engle had had a long history of violence, particularly against women. A decade prior, he had broken into the woman’s house and assaulted her father with a golf club because Engle thought he was preventing her from dating him.
The violent encounter landed Engle in prison for over 10 years for home invasion and aggressive battery. When he was finally released, he went after her again.
“If we weren’t there she would have been done,” said Grandt. “She would have been seen running down the alley. He would have shot her from that distance. Done.”
The Chicago police are crediting the movers with saving her life, making an official proclamation in honor of their courage and quick thinking.
“I think that there’s a hero in all of us,” said Zaininger. “It just takes a certain situation.”