Blind Boston Dispatcher Tackles Robbery Suspect

Jan. 23, 2009
He was reading "Practice Random Acts of Kindness" when he spotted the robbery.


A legally blind Boston Fire Department dispatcher who was reading the book "Practice Random Acts of Kindness" didn't hesitate Wednesday when he spotted a violent robbery during a subway ride.

Blind Dispatcher Tackles Accused Robber

NewsCenter 5's Amalia Barreda reported that as dispatcher Frank Sullivan, 53, rode the MBTA's Orange Line into the New England Medical Center T station, he saw a robber beating a young man, fighting to take the passenger's iPod.

"The victim wouldn't give up. And they said, 'Give it up! Give it up!' And they punched him twice square right in the face. His nose split open, his lip split open," Sullivan said.

Sullivan said he had been reading Rabbi Harold Kushner's book, "Practice Random Acts of Kindness," and he decided to get involved.

"He hit me twice on the platform. We were face to face," Sullivan said.

Sullivan and the alleged assailant fell onto an escalator and it carries them up to the next level, according to the police report.

Sullivan was able to hold him there until MBTA police arrested Christopher Blackwell, 22, of Charlestown.

Sullivan said he has been legally blind for 29 years. He was shot three times after confronting several men who were disruptive inside a restaurant.

"I got shot twice in the head and once in the arm. I got my last rites that day," Sullivan said.

Sullivan is overwhelmed by the praise being showered upon him.

"I'm not a hero. The hero in our department died the other day," Sullivan said, referring to Fire Lt. Kevin Kelley who was killed earlier this month when the ladder truck he was riding in lost its brakes and slammed into a building.

A Boston Municipal Court judge revoked Blackwell's bail on an open assault and battery case after he was arraigned on the charges in connection with Wednesday's incident.

Copyright 2009 by All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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