Kenneth Krug, the humble security guard who took down a gunman at crowded Roosevelt Field mall, shrugged off all the hero talk Wednesday.
“I was just doing my job,” the retired NYPD sergeant said.
Appearing far from stressed out, Krug went Christmas shopping at the same Garden City mall where just 24 hours earlier he foiled an armed robbery that panicked hundreds of shoppers.
In his North Baldwin community, people whooped and cheered when they learned one of their neighbors was the courageous mall guard.
Shanti Almonor, 39, said she feels “very safe” knowing someone like Krug lives nearby.
“This is so good. He’s a hero,” Almonor said. “Some people, when you hear gunshots, you just get out of the way. But he intervened. He didn’t think about himself, he thought about others and about helping people stay safe.”
On Tuesday afternoon, Krug was working at Tourneau, a luxury watch shop, when police say a man brandished a handgun and demanded a Rolex.
Police said Krug grappled with the suspect, grabbing the gun and jamming it. During the initial struggle, one round was fired from the robber’s gun, striking a mall employee in the shoulder. But officials said Krug prevented anyone else from being harmed.
Krug said he has been working as a security guard at the mall for about a year, but the attempted robbery was the first time he’s had to tap his police skills.
During a 21-year tenure with the NYPD, Krug received six awards for exceptional police duty, the department said. He joined the force in 1981 and retired in 2002 as a detective sergeant after serving in the 79th Precinct in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, and the 107th in Flushing, Queens.
Krug attributed his takedown of the suspect to experience. “It was all in the NYPD training,” he said.
His concern was more about the welfare of the shooting victim, whom he visited Wednesday in the hospital.
“He’s doing fine,” Krug said from the doorway of his home, where an American flag blew in the wind and colorful Christmas lights hung in the windows. “He’s getting released today.”
Jim Dunn, who has lived across the street since 1975, called Krug “a great neighbor.”
“We lost a cat for a couple of months, and he was helping us look for it,” Dunn said of Krug, who moved to the block four or five years ago. “He even brought a cat back here. It wasn’t ours, but that made us know he was truly looking.”
Dunn said another retired police officer lives next door, making the block feel secure.
Of Krug, he said: “We’re very glad to have him here and glad to hear he is fine. He was doing what he was trained to do.”
Krug said he’s taking a couple of days off and was looking forward to celebrating Christmas with his family.
“Happy holidays and merry Christmas,” he said before disappearing inside.
With Anthony M. DeStefano