A hulking brute gained the upper hand in a brawl with a California Highway Patrol officer Friday evening. Once trapped in a headlock, the motorcycle officer appeared short on time and air. He was not, however, short on friends.
Three Good Samaritans rushed into action, sparing the officer from possible doom and making good on the officer’s earlier warning.
Everardo Navarro, 42, glimpsed the CHP officer on the receiving end of a beating off California’s 5 freeway in Santa Ana, California.
“I just jumped,” Navarro told the Los Angeles Times. “I don’t think the officer was able to take control of that situation by himself, because the guy was very, very strong.”
While the brute, who has been identified as 34-year-old Jaime Balderas Paniagua, may have appeared strong, Navarro’s compulsion to act was stronger.
“I think about my kids at that moment,” Navarro told KCAL-TV. “And at the same time, I did think the officer may have a family as well.”
Navarro rushed across traffic to uphold the law and its highway enforcer. Two additional men swiftly joined Navarro in the effort.
KCAL indicated the officer had originally given the suspect a verbal warning for allegedly bending freeway signs and screaming at passersby. However, as the officer was preparing to ride away, Paniagua allegedly assailed him.
A video of the incident appears to show the suspect strike the officer, the officer respond, then both men grapple on the ground, with the suspect gaining the advantage on the road. At one stage, the suspect appears to get the officer into a headlock.
“When I actually get there, for a split second I didn’t know what to do,” said Navarro. “I just punched the guy in the ribs.”
The Good Samaritan’s flurry of punches to the suspect’s solar plexus failed to free the officer, so he focused instead on breaking the choke hold.
In the footage of the incident, the other two Good Samaritans can be seen aiding the officer and ensuring the suspect couldn’t grab the officer’s sidearm.
Together, they successfully subdued the suspect and ensured the officer would live to ride again.
Anselmo Templado, a spokesman for the CHP, told KTLA, “Many of these situations, they end up becoming dangerous at a moment’s notice.”
“I think it’s amazing that three Good Samaritans came in and stepped in and helped our officer out,” added Templado. “It’s not very often that you see something like that. Usually, it’s just people recording and standing by, but I just want to thank those three Good Samaritans for helping out our officer. It could’ve ended very badly, but luckily for them no one was seriously injured, and we got the subject under control.”
Paniagua faces multiple charges including assault and battery on a peace officer and resisting arrest.
Video captures Good Samaritans rescuing CHP officer under attack in Orange Countyyoutu.be
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