A New England Patriots offensive lineman helped thwart a sexual assault at a park in Arizona, detaining the sicko until cops arrived, police said.
Justin Herron — a 6-foot-5, 305-pound lineman in Arizona for offseason training — was praised by Tempe police Wednesday for intervening when he and another man saw a suspect pushing a 71-year-old woman to the ground and trying to remove her pants at Kiwanis Park, department officials 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 Det. Natalie Barela told reporters at a press conference.
Neither Herron nor Rogers, of Phoenix, knew the victim, but both sprang into action upon seeing the attack by a suspect identified as 30-year-old Kevin Caballero, KPNX reported.
“At that moment, I was in shock,” Herron, 25, recalled. “It was 11 a.m., middle of the day, in a very open field and the fact that it happened there at that time was just very shocking. I wish I could tell you what I was thinking, but I could just tell someone needed help.”
Herron, who played 12 games for the Pats last year as a rookie, acknowledged he’s “kind of big,” but tries not to be “too aggressive” with others.
But he knew this wasn’t the time to be timid, he said.
“I do have a loud voice,” Herron said. “I yelled, told him to get off her and then yanked him off and I told him to sit down and I told him to wait until the cops come.”
Herron and Rogers met the woman for a second time earlier this week. The woman has dubbed the pair “her angels,” Rogers said.
“Over the past several days, I have thought about her and pictured her face, so it was really nice moment, and I’m really glad I got to meet her,” Rogers said.
Tempe police gave the heroic tandem Outstanding Service Awards for their actions at Wednesday’s event. The victim, who had minor injuries in the attack, is recovering, KPNX reported.
Caballero, meanwhile, remains jailed on $500,000 bond on charges of kidnapping and attempt to commit sexual assault, the Arizona Republic reported.
Herron said he never expected “in a thousand years” that he’d have to help a stranger in need — but wouldn’t hesitate to do again.
“If someone needs your help, go help them,” Herron said. “I never thought this would happen, and I don’t want it to happen again.”
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