NFL player Justin Herron praised for stepping in to save stranger from attack
TEMPE, Arizona- Police say a young NFL player noticed that a stranger was being harassed, and instead of walking away,the football star stepped in and rescued her from an attempted sexual assault.
According to CNN, when Justin Herron of the New England Patriots was taking a walk in a Tempe, Arizona public park last Saturday (March 20), he happened to see a man trying to sexually assault a 71-year-old woman.
The woman screamed for help and Herron immediately took action.
"I just knew in that moment that I had to go," said Herron, who ordered the man to stop and pulled him off the woman.
The woman, a retired school teacher, was being targeted by a 30-year-old man, police say.
At 6'5"and having just completed his rookie season with the New England Patriots, Herron explained that he does his best to avoid potentially volatile situations, but this was different.
"I try not to be too aggressive with individuals, knowing that I could potentially hurt somebody," Herron said.
When Herron ordered the man to stop, he complied and stayed put until police made their way to the scene of the alleged crime.
Another bystander who saw what was happening, Murry Rogers, also came to the retired schoolteacher's aid and waited with the three until police arrived.
Rogers said he'd been in the park for his daughter's birthday party and that he assisted Herron in keeping the suspect detained while Herron consoled the victim.
"It was terrifying to witness," Rogers said.
The suspect was taken into custody and the investigation into the attack is ongoing, police said.
"If not for the swift actions of Mr. Justin Herron and Mr. Murry Rogers, this vicious attack could've been much worse," Tempe Police Detective Natalie Barela said.
Days later, the two Good Samaritans were reunited privately with the victim.
"It was heartwarming to see her, but also gut-wrenching to see how she responded to the trauma and how she's dealing with it," Herron said. "No one should go through that."
"She thanked us. She called us her angels," said Rogers. "I'm a little bit of a crier, so it was very emotional."
On Wednesday, Herron and Rogers were presented with Outstanding Service Awards by the Tempe Police Department.
After reflecting on the situation, Herron said, "You see it in movies and TV all the time, but you never think it's going to happen in real life until it does. In that moment, I was in shock."