COLUMBIA, Tenn. (WKRN) — It was an officer’s worst nightmare when a suicidal man took an off-duty officer’s gun out of his holster.

This terrifying scenario happened Wednesday evening in Columbia in the middle of the crowded Bear Creek Pike.

It all began when off-duty Williamson County Deputy Chris Mobley was on his way home.

That’s when he saw a van brake, pull to the side and a man dive out of the moving van onto Bear Creek Pike.

“I didn’t know if he was injured, or dazed and confused or what,” Mobley said.

According to Mobley, the 24-year-old man was agitated. He ran from the middle of the road to one of two vans that appeared to have people familiar to the man.

Mobley said the 24-year-old got into a confrontation in one of the vans with a woman, trying to take the van keys.

When he was unsuccessful, the man returned to the middle of Bear Creek Pike where Mobley tried to coax him out of the road.

Mobley said the man was clearly suicidal.

“He’s in a mental health crisis, he said he wants to die,” Mobley said. “Nobody will talk to him, help him.”

While attempting to de-escalate the situation, the suicidal man lunged at Mobley.

“He grabs me, I turn and shove him back. I press for weapon retention and felt an empty holster,” Mobley recalled. “I was shocked, I kid you not. I’ve been doing this job a long time, been in close counter situations, I have never had a weapon pulled that fast, I didn’t even feel it come out, it’s shocking how fast it happened.”

News 2 obtained the 911 call of that horrifying moment from a woman driving the van the man jumped from.

Woman: “Oh god, he is trying to get that man’s gun. He’s got the officer’s gun.”

911 Dispatcher: “He’s got the officer’s gun?”

Woman: “Somebody, please. Yes, please.”

Help was on the way, but to an unarmed Lt. Mobley, seconds felt like hours as the suicidal man placed the gun to his own head.

“I continue the dialogue, keep trying to de-escalate and talk him down,” Mobley said.

After many anxious minutes, Columbia and Maury County authorities arrived.

Mobley continued to talk to the distraught man.

“He said ‘tell them to back up or I’ll do it.’ I said ‘they will not back up, but that’s okay you just have to let go of the gun and back away.'”

Finally, the moment of truth came when the suspect let the gun drop from his hand.

“I’m telling him just drop the gun, let it fall on the ground, just open your hand and let it go, back away from it. He finally just reached out and dropped the gun, in front of him. It slid across the pavement. Columbia police moved in, and I was able to retrieve my weapon and secure it back.”

Mobley says the day was emotional.

“Yes, it was one of those situations where I am not going to let my mind go down the rabbit hole of what could happen, I’m more focusing on what did happen. I’ll credit my CIT training with the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office to maintain that dialogue and de-escalate the situation and ultimately bring it to a peaceful resolution.”

Mobley told News 2 that when he worked the streets, he always had a backup weapon, but now, he mostly works in an office at the sheriff’s office. After this incident, the 24-year officer says he will start wearing his backup weapon again.

He also told News 2 that he is looking into a more secure holster because this should never happen.

Mobley suspects the man’s training in martial arts may have allowed him to quickly get the weapon from the holster.

The man is reportedly undergoing psychiatric evaluation, and when he is released, he will be charged.

⏩ Read today’s top stories on wkrn.com

Additionally, Mobley says the suspect’s martial arts training combined with his mental instability continues to make him a constant danger to Columbia officers who have dealt with him numerous times and say the encounters are becoming more physical.