A good Samaritan is being praised for saving the lives of two police officers during the arrest of an armed robbery suspect that almost turned deadly.
Joseph Gonzalez, 41, walked into a Metro PCS on the 500 block of Armory Street in Springfield, Massachusetts, at around 12:25 p.m on December 27 and allegedly pulled out a knife and stole an undisclosed amount of cash from the register, according to the Springfield Police Department (SPD).
Minutes after the alleged crime occurred, a police offer spotted Gonzalez on Chapin Terrace and began to approach him, but the two became engaged in a struggle.
Meanwhile, Pedro Perez was driving on Chapin Terrace when he saw the distressed officer attempting to arrest Gonzalez. Perez jumped out of his vehicle to assist the officer in restraining the suspect while a second officer arrived on the scene to help.
Amid the struggle, Gonzalez grabbed ahold of one of the officer’s service pistols and fired two rounds as Perez and the two officers tried to disarm Gonzalez, the SPD noted.
“One round struck his own hand and another hit Perez’ truck. Both shots narrowly missed both officers and Perez,” the SPD wrote.
The two officers were able to remove the firearm from Gonzalez’s hands and arrest him. The suspect was provided first aid and then sent to a local hospital for treatment. The first officer who responded was also sent to the hospital for treatment.
The SPD added that officers found a large knife and cash on Gonzalez.
City officials and the SPD noted that Perez’s actions likely saved the two officers’ lives as they tried to restrain the suspect.
“Without the help of Mr. Perez there undoubtedly would have been a much different outcome to this incident,” said Springfield Police Superintendent Cheryl Clapprood. “His actions in all likelihood saved the lives of two Springfield Police Officers.”
Sarno then added that his office reached out to a local auto shop that agreed to fix Perez’s truck and provide him transportation until his vehicle is repaired.
In addition to praising Perez, Clapprood and Sarno praised the two officers’ heroic efforts while condemning the suspect’s alleged actions.
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