KENOSHA, Wis. (CBS) — A man risked his own life to save a friend’s business during the violent clashes in Kenosha, and was beaten by looters.
CBS 2 Investigator Megan Hickey was there Thursday when that man was reunited with the owners whose store he tried to save.
A 100-year-old building that was destroyed by fire during the unrest in Kenosha this week housed a family-run mattress store. But for Robert Cobb, it was much more than that.
“It’s hard,” said Sue Moniz, owner of The Mattress Shop. “God, this is hard.”
Moniz surveyed the damage up close for the first time on Thursday. Every inch of Moniz and Keith McCarty’s mattress store was destroyed.
But they’ve had something else on their minds – well, someone else.
“He’s teeny, but he loves fiercely and he’s a hero,” Moniz said.
Armed with nothing but a fire extinguisher, Cobb, 70, tried to defend his friend Moniz’s shop from a group of arsonists and looters Monday night.
The whole thing was caught on camera in a difficult-to-watch scene. Fresh from a double bypass surgery, Cobb was standing guard until someone punched him so hard in the face that he collapse to the sidewalk.
“Just so selfless, so I can’t. I can’t. I can’t even think about how bad It could have been,” Cobb said. “I mean, it’s bad enough they broke his jaw.”
Cobb playfully dodged our cameras most of the day, because he said he wants the story to be about how much the Kenosha community loves his friend Moniz.
It’s funny, because Moniz said the story is about Cobb’s bravery.
Either way, their reunion was beautiful as they embraced.
Cobb’s jaw was broken in two places and he went in for surgery Thursday afternoon.
“She’s my rock, my inspiration,” Cobb said.
“I love this man,” Moniz said. “I love this man.”
Even though the mattress shop is rubble, McCarty said, “We will rebuild.”
And McCarty and Moniz said they found a silver lining in the violence and destruction that has ravaged their community. And that break in the clouds is a lifelong friend.
“This is stuff. I mean, it’s devastating. It’s my livelihood – a lot of memories, a lot of, you know – but this is stuff,” Moniz said. “I can’t replace this man. That man’s not just stuff.”
Almost three days later, the remains of the building were still smoking.
The owners said they want to rebuild in a different location, but it is too soon to know a timeline. But the Danish Brotherhood that used to be next door has invited them to join the mattress store to be their neighbors again when they rebuild.