This story discusses suicide. If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, please contact the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988 or 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
A would-be thief lurking around a California Walmart didn’t stand a chance when he ran into HED P.E.’s tour bus and met Josh “Crazy Ed” Edwards.
“Josh was like, ‘F—— swing on me. I dare you,’” one of the band members said in an Instagram video on Jan. 23 that they shared with Fox News Digital that shows Edwards’ takedown and the aftermath.
Band members laughed and narrated the scene as Edwards held the suspect on the ground and emptied his pockets, where he found a knife that he tossed to the side.
Then the two had a chat while they waited for the police. The suspect thought Edwards was part of an undercover sting.
“No, this is 10 years of military. You’re f—— with the wrong people,” said the Army vet, who saved someone’s life just three days earlier.
AMELIA EARHART PLANE CRASH: AIR FORCE VET IS ‘CERTAIN’ IMAGES ARE HISTORY’S MOST FASCINATING WRECK
Technically, Edwards is HED P.E.’s “tour manager.” But last week he expanded his roles and joked that he’s been practicing to take over as lead vocalist of the rock band.
He told Fox News Digital in an exclusive interview that things didn’t seem quite right when a “shady car” parked a few spaces in front of the band’s bus, which was off to the side of a Walmart.
A guy got out of the car and walked around a few times, dashing in and out of the trees, according to Edwards, who said it looked like they were scoping something out and gave Jared Gomes, HED P.E.’s lead vocalist, a heads up.
JUDGE DENIES MARINE VET DANIEL PENNY’S MOTION TO DISMISS CASE IN SUBWAY CHOKEHOLD DEATH
“I was like, ‘Something’s not right, so I’ll keep an eye on it,'” he said. “So he does another lap. I go back in the RV, trying to get us packed up and then probably like five minutes after that, the dude from the car comes flying out around the back of the corner.”
He was being chased by Walmart security, which nearly hit the band’s bus. And the suspect slammed into the front. Edwards was on the bus steps and grabbed him.
“He turns around and swings on me,” Edwards said. “So, he did a swan dive into the asphalt, and after that got him on the ground, searched him… And after that he didn’t resist much after I put him in that bent arm bar.”
WATCH “CRAZY ED’S” TAKEDOWN AND INTERACTION WITH WOULD-BE THIEF
The fight’s over, if it was a fight, and Edwards goes from security to therapist, as the two men have a heart-to-heart chat while they wait for the arresting officers.
“He kept saying his shoulder hurt, so I even tried to accommodate him, and I put him on his knees, feet crossed. It’s an old military technique,” Edwards said. “I did everything I could, and we had a nice talk while I was sitting there waiting for the cops.
SEEING SUSPECTED CHILD KIDNAPPER IN COURT WAS ‘BEING IN THE PRESENCE OF PURE EVIL’, GIRL’S AUNT SAYS
“I was like, why are you doing this, blah, blah, blah. And he’s talking about going through a divorce and having issues with his kids. And I was like this, ‘This ain’t the way. This ain’t gonna help you.
“And we actually both thanked each other because I needed the adrenaline rush, and you know, I might have helped him get his life back.”
That was on Jan. 23. Three days earlier, in Butte, Montana, security guard/therapist/tour manager Edwards played the role of Captain America.
It was about 3:30 a.m., and the band was on the way from Great Falls to Boise. There were six-plus inches of snow on the ground, and some of the band members saw a sprawling carnage of debris in the road.
The trail led to an overturned truck with the light still on. Inside, a man was passed out with his head pressing against the horn.
‘CAPTAIN SULLY’ DIDN’T TRAIN FOR WATER LANDING BEFORE PUTTING US AIRWAYS JET DOWN IN HUDSON RIVER 15 YEARS AGO
“So we pull over real quick,” Edwards said. Two members of the band hopped out and called 911 while Edwards figured out how to get this guy out of the car. They’re all calling out to the driver.
“We’re yelling, ‘Anyone there?’ And the dude comes crawling out the far side of his truck, and like kind of making it around. (He has) no shoes on, a jacket or a long sleeve shirt,” he said.
Edwards went to work, pulling him from the wreckage and wrapping him in blankets. They got him onto the bus to warm him up and wait for medics to arrive at the scene.
“He would’ve froze to death if we weren’t there,” Edwards said.
The driver, who Edwards said was in his late 20s-early 30s and living in his car while he was in between jobs, fell asleep while driving and crashed.
“We actually reached out to his parents that night, trying to let them know what was going on, and he called us a day or two later and said he was good,” Edwards said. “And he thanked us for saving his life.”
Crawling out of the dark spiral after 10 years in the military
Edwards’ chaotic week was emblematic of his life. He was awarded a Combat Action Badge in 2015, when he and his team took on sniper fire in Afghanistan.
“There were mortars getting walked in on us. We had SF (special forces) team in the village running a mission,” Edwards said. “Just a little bit of everything was going on during that trip.
“Rounds were pinging off our armor on our truck. The truck behind me was blown up. Thankfully, they all survived.”
MARINE VET TOUTS BENEFITS OF PSYCHEDELIC-ASSISTED PTSD DRUGS AS FDA CONSIDERS MDMA APPROVAL
But active combat took its toll. One of his closest friends – Sgt. Joshua Strickland – was killed in action, among many other friends. Sgt. Strickland had a wife and three children waiting for him to come home.
“Josh’s death hit the hardest. And then I mean you almost go numb to it after that,” Edwards said. “We were losing someone here and there for a time.”
Transitioning from the military back to civilian life was challenging for him, and he spiraled into a dark abyss that bottomed out in a suicide attempt, Edwards said.
His wife left him during a deployment, and he lost touch with his kids for years, he said. “So, I just stuck with the fighting because it was easier to numb the pain and then with fighting comes loss.”
WHAT IS PTSD? EXPLORE THE MEANING, SYMPTOMS AND COMMON TREATMENT OPTIONS
“I’ve lost quite a few friends, and it just made me more and more numb and put me into a darker hole and getting out hurt. I felt like I didn’t have a purpose, and it took awhile to find it.”
He survived a suicide attempt and credited 22 Until None, a nonprofit group of volunteers who dedicate full-time hours to helping veterans and their families.
“They gave me a purpose for a little bit, but then I kind of lost my way again, worked with another organization that walks across the country for suicide awareness walks, so I got like, 1,000-plus miles walking in flip-flops with another buddy,” said Edwards, who joked that he hates shoes.
WATCH FULL INTERVIEW WITH EDWARDS AND GOMES
A job application with HED P.E. that changed his life.
“But right now, I can definitely see the light all day. So that’s cool,” Edwards said.
A big part of that he attributes to life with the band, HED P.E., which has been cranking out hits since the mid ’90s by fusing rap and punk.
WHAT IS PTSD? EXPLORE THE MEANING, SYMPTOMS AND COMMON TREATMENT OPTIONS
Gomes said he remembers meeting Edwards a few years before he ultimately hired him.
“I remember enjoying his company and being around him, but he didn’t have experience, so he didn’t work on that tour,” Gomes told Fox News Digital.
That was a few years ago. In August, HED P.E. posted a job looking for a “merch guy” in Texas, and Edwards happened to be there at the time, so he applied.
Gomes said they tried one or two other guys, who didn’t pan out, so they called Edwards, and he fit right in. He’s been touring with the band since August.
His responsibilities grew to include drum tech, mechanic when their RV broke down in Canada and tour management.
CLICK TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP
Last week he added security and superhero.
Next, he’s going for backup vocalist for Gomes, but “he still hasn’t signed off on that yet.”
Fox News Digital’s Mitch Picasso contributed to this report.