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It's 6:40 on a Thursday night. Still plenty of daylight. First Coast News reporter Mike Lyons and First Coast News videographer Mike Bunker sit in a marked First Coast News van waiting to do a live report - a live shot - for the 7 o'clock news.

They are on Myrtle Avenue in northwest Jax, a street these two news veterans have been on countless times.

Lyons is in the passenger seat, Bunker in the driver seat.


The van's sliding side door is open because they are shuffling gear in and out throughout the evening.

"All of the sudden I hear a voice behind my head. Somebody talking. Didn't exactly hear exactly at first what he said. And I turned around and I see a young guy pointing a silver gun at my head waving it. And I realized he said, "Give me your wallet. Give me your phones. Hand them over slow."

The young man had jumped in the van through the open side door, crouching behind the passenger seat on top of some camera gear.

"I saw the gun there. He's not leaving. He's not smiling. I was like, 'Ok. This is the real deal,'" Bunker said. "The first two or three seconds I thought he was kidding. I just could not believe. This does not seem real."

Both were on edge.

"That thought when he had the gun and I'm reaching for my wallet and my phone I'm thinking in my head, just hopefully he doesn't pull the trigger," Lyons said.

Bunker said he was not threatening looking.

He looked like he could be a high school senior. He was clean cut, didn't have a mask on and had a white ball cap and a white T-shirt, Bunker said.

"But I didn't really stare at him too hard because I was afraid looking at him really hard he's going to shoot me," Bunker said.

They handed over their wallets and phones. Mike Bunker had all of $12 on him. Mike Lyons not too much more than that.

"He would've done better on a Monday. I'd have more cash. By the end of the week I'm, you know, getting kind of tapped out," Bunker said.

The whole thing took no more than 20 seconds and then the robber took off on foot.

Phoneless now, Lyons jumps out of the van and borrows a cell phone from the first man he sees.

He's shaken up. A gun had just been held to his head. So he calls 911, right? Nope.

"I called the station. Because, number one, I wanted to let them know I couldn't do the live shot at 7 o'clock and for them to call police. I don't know why I did that," Lyons said.

Both are OK. Understandably rattled. But right back on the job a couple days later.

Is there a safety lesson here? Probably not. There's not much they could've done differently besides lock the side door.

There may be a lesson of empathy, though. If we're honest and didn't go through it ourselves this is a crime we probably would call unfortunate but pretty run-of-the-mill.

One of dozens of similar crimes that same week that you never heard about, that never made the news. Until it happened to the news.

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