Everyday Citizen - Aaron Kreag
Jan 27, 2015 06:36PM ● Published by Dia
Photo by BluDoor Studios
Southlake Style catches up with this courageous civilian after a widely publicized scene played out on the streets of Southlake late last year. While stopped at a red light in Southlake, something caught Aaron Kreag's attention. A man was assaulting his female passenger in the car next to them. Aaron’s wife called 911 as Aaron exited the car and yelled for the man to stop. When the man stepped outside the car Aaron drew his .45 caliber gun and held the man at gunpoint until police arrived to secure the scene.
How do you remember the scene that day?
It was so mind-blowing. I drive through town everyday to and from work. We shop in Southlake; we eat in Southlake. That day we were stopped on a sixlane road 50 yards from the busiest intersection in town, and we see a man brutally attacking his female passenger. I have never seen anything like it before. I’ve seen couples shouting, or seen shoving matches in department stores between people. In those cases I might intervene and tell them to “calm down.” I will mitigate—but not with a firearm.
You feel it is important for others to know you have military background and extensive training in firearms, why is that?
Someone who doesn’t have all the information about me and the facts about the circumstances could potentially make an illegal decision, and I don’t want that. Over the last 21 years my firearms experience or credentials include eight years in the Army, three years experience as an security consultant and tactical medic in Iraq working with the State Department, civilians and the Iraqi government. Over the last 20 years I have probably logged 2,000 hours in a wide variety of training formats. Some credentials include Texas CHL and CHL Instructor, past NRA instructor and Range Safety Officer, competitive shooting experience, tactical firearms and tactical medicine instructor experience and I am Texas Department of Public Safety licensed armed security guard and Personal Protection Officer/Executive Protection.
But yet, for all intents and purposes, you are a civilian now. What made you stop that day?
When I was younger, about 16 years old, I saw something happen to someone, and all I could do was go to a payphone and call 911. My assumption was that I saw a lady kidnapped. I think that incident planted a seed with me. Life is too short, and I’ve got too strong of a conscience. I choose to live my life without regret. My wife and I agreed that this guy could potentially kill this lady. There was no fathomable way I could see what I saw, do nothing and not immediately intervene.
You are no stranger to intervening. You ended up working with first responders in New York during 9/11. What was that like?
After eight years in the Army I returned home to Chicago in 2011, and spent one night catching up with an old buddy from school. That was Sept. 10, 2011. The next morning when I turned on the news and saw the second tower hit I thought it was the beginning of World War III. As an Army veteran and trained medic, I packed my bags and made my way to New York. It was such a defining moment. After leaving the city, I knew I was meant to help people in this capacity.
You're no longer a paramedic, what eventually led to a career change?
When I was a paramedic I really enjoyed being paid to help people. It was the best of both worlds—making a living and contributing to society. I enjoyed the ups and downs, the excitement and occasional adrenaline. The job was never boring and always changing. However, as my life changed and I started my family, it became too much of an emotional burden. I truly cared about each person I came into contact with, and the trauma—especially with the civilians and children—just got to me. I could no longer carry those emotions around with me.
It’s probably safe to say your emotions are the driving factor behind the chances you take to save lives. With that being said, when the ordeal was over, you went over to the female passenger and gave her a hug. What prompted you to do this?
When it was all over, I got an overwhelming feeling that it was such a traumatic experience for the female passenger. I felt I needed to close the loop on this— connect with her in a nonaggressive way. I didn’t want to drive away and have her wonder “who is this guy” and “where is his heart.” I wanted to say “hi” and tell her I would be praying for her. To me it was closure, and I hoped for her it was closure as well.