Friend says Army veteran died protecting others

Mario Wilson
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A retired veteran was shot and killed over the weekend while out enjoying breakfast with friends.

Indianapolis Metro Police responded to the shooting outside the Denny's on Michigan Road on the northwest side of the city Saturday morning.

"I know he had been shot one time here. I said, 'Mario, you will be okay.' I held his hand and told him to not talk and hang in there. And, he looked at me, and he was gone," said Carl Smith.

Carl Smith fought back tears when he talks about what happened to his friend, 46-year old Mario Wilson outside the Denny's restaurant.

"His military training, he assessed that situation and said something was not right here," said Smith.

Smith, his wife, Mario Wilson and his fiancé had just ordered breakfast around 5:30 a.m. Saturday when police say 26-year old Leonard Bond picked a fight, walked out of the restaurant, and started banging on the window near where Wilson was sitting to get him to come outside.

"He got to open the door and the dude just unloaded on him. I got up and ran out there," said Smith.

Smith says he tackled the suspect, but wasn't able to hold him down. Smith said he will be forever grateful to a stranger eating in the restaurant, who also rushed out to help.

"That guy that came up and helped me. He could have gone too. Like the Boston Marathon incident, people came to help rescue. We all have to stop turning our backs. If we see something, help," said Smith.

Smith and the stranger held down Leonard Bond until police got there to arrest him for murder.

Smith believes his friend died protecting others.

"I know that if Mario didn't go out that door that guy would have come into the restaurant and it could have been a bigger tragedy than it was," said Smith.

Mario Wilson was a retired 22-year veteran of the United States Army.

His fiancé told Eyewitness News the American Legion Post 249 will have a memorial service for Wilson on Thursday.