“You see it in movies and on TV all the time, but you never think it’s going to happen in real life until it happens. At that moment, I was in shock,” Justin Herron said during a press conference Wednesday with Murry Rogers , another bystander who is credited with stopping the attack. The two have received Outstanding Service Awards from the Tempe Police Department.
A 30-year-old man tried to sexually assault a 71-year-old woman in a public park, according to police, when Herron and Rogers heard cries for help. Herron, a 6’5 “offensive lineman who had just finished his rookie season with the New England Patriots, said he was taking a walk when he heard the attack.
“I knew at that moment that I had to go,” said Herron, who ordered the man to stop and pulled him away from the woman.
“I try not to be too aggressive with individuals because I know I could potentially hurt someone,” Herron said. The suspect gave in and remained stationary while the police were out.
Rogers said he was in the park for his daughter’s birthday party and stopped the suspect from escaping while Herron comforted the victim. “It was horrible to see,” he said.
The man has been taken into custody and the investigation into the attack is ongoing, police said.
“Without the quick action of Justin Herron and Murry Rogers, this vicious attack could have been much worse,” said Natalie Barela, a Tempe police officer.
The two good Samaritans were privately reunited with the victim before the press conference.
“It was heartwarming to see her, but also nerve-wracking to see how she reacted to the trauma and how she dealt with it,” said Herron. “Nobody should go through this.”
“She thanked us. She called us her angels,” said Rogers. “I’m a bit of a screamer so it was very emotional.”
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