Moment hero restaurant owner whose son, 14, was stabbed to death last year tackles knifeman threatening woman in his shop and wrestles machete-length blade off him
This is the moment a bereaved father whose 14-year-old son was fatally stabbed last year tackled a knife-wielding teenager in his cafe. Julius Cools (pictured, bottom left), 47, heroically stepped in when the man began to threaten a young girl in his Caribbean food shop, Cools Kitchen, in South Norwood on October 21.
His 14-year-old son, Jermaine (pictured), was stabbed in Croydon last year, becoming the youngest person killed by a knife crime in the capital in 2021. The family unveiled a plaque near where Jermaine on November 18, the anniversary of the teenager’s death.
The video shows two women looking at food in a cabinet in the shop before the armed man barges in, clearly agitated. He has one hand in his pocket, where the machete is concealed. Mr Cools has a tragic personal history with knife crime. His 14-year-old son Jermaine was fatally stabbed near West Croydon train station in November last year. A 16-year-old has been accused of the murder and is due to stand trial in January. At 14, Jermaine was the youngest person to be stabbed and killed on London’s streets in 2021.
He corners one woman against a wall before Mr Cools steps out from behind the front counter to intervene. Mr Cools wrestles the man, who is wearing a black jacket and a hood over his head, into a counter before the pair crash into tables and chairs. A group of schoolchildren are visible through the shop’s windows, watching the outbreak of the fight. Mr Cools removed the forearm-length blade from the man who then tries to reclaim the knife. The security camera footage shows the knife-wielding man eventually giving up and leaving the shop.
Thirty teenagers lost their lives in 2021, which set a grim record for teenage stabbings in the capital. But Mr Cools said the police didn’t seem interested in even looking at the CCTV footage and the knifeman is still at large. He said he’d realized that the disagreement was getting out of hand and wanted to protect the woman in his shop. ‘I was in my shop, the girl came into to buy something, asking about the food and he came in so angry and arguing and I realized it was getting out of hand. I tried to separate them, I pushed the guy away telling him get out of my shop and I realized he had his knife.’
He added: ‘I don’t know where I got the energy from but I just did. He could have stabbed me, I don’t know.’ Asked if he had ever seen the man before, the 47-year-old said: ‘I think he came in the shop before but I think he was following the girl from around the corner as she came into the shop. It is a good job she came in otherwise he could have attacked her in the street.’ He said that he kept the knife even though the attacker was asking for it back.
The teenager can be seen on the CCTV footage arguing across the counter before giving up and walking out. Mr Cools added: ‘The police came but they did not do nothing. They could have gone down the road and caught the guy if they were interested. When they came, I gave a statement and I said just watch the video but they were not interested. I said when my son was killed, nobody ever helped him. I tried to help that little girl. The same thing that happened with me happened with my son.’ He said: ‘All I was thinking that day was that the girl could have died in the same way in my shop. I was doing it to protect that girl, she was only 16 or 17, she has her whole life ahead of her.’
Mr Cools said he is concerned about levels of knife crime and that the ‘young kids don’t care.’ ‘We live in a world where if you leave your house you don’t know if you are going back home. This is the life we are living now. These young kids don’t care, they will kill you and laugh about it. They do not care, they have no Lord in their heart. All I am saying to people now is to be careful, kids and adults, anyone can get killed any time, any day. I am not scared of them, I don’t care. Since I lost my son last year I have no fear.’ Jermaine Cools (pictured) was one of five teenagers to be fatally stabbed in the borough of Croydon last year. So far, no teenagers have died as a result of knife crime in the borough in 2022.
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