New England Patriots offensive tackle Justin Herron is being thanked for his role in stopping the sexual assault of a senior in Arizona.
On Wednesday (March 24), Tempe police held a press conference honoring Herron, as well as pedestrian Murry Rogers, for stepping in to end the attack and subdue the suspect until authorities arrived.
The attempted sexual assault took place at Kiwanis Park in Tempe on Saturday. The suspect, who has been identified as 30-year-old Kevin Caballero, was seen pushing the 71-year-old victim to the ground and attempting to remove the woman’s pants.
“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 said during the presser, according to local station KPNX.
Herron is in Arizona for offseason training and did not know Rogers, a Phoenix resident. Both men happened to be in the park that day and did not know the victim or the suspect.
The Tempe Police Department presented Rogers and Herron with Outstanding Service Awards on Wednesday.
Herron revealed he heard screaming while at the park and snapped into action.
“At that moment, I was in shock,” Herron said, according to the news station. “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. All I could do was rush myself over there to make sure I could help the victim and I could comfort her and be the best person I can be.”
Herron, who stands at 6-foot-5 and nearly 300 pounds, says his size helped him subdue the situation.
“I’m a football player, I’m kind of big. I try not to be too aggressive with people knowing I could potentially hurt somebody,” Herron said. “I do have a loud voice. I yelled, told him to get off of her and then yanked him off and I told him to sit down and I told him to wait until the cops come.”
Herron said he has no experience in handling crisis situations, however his parents raised him to help people in need.
“My parents always talked to me about it, if there’s someone in need, make sure you can help them and be the best you can be,” he said. “I don’t want this to happen again, I don’t want to have to save someone else’s life again, but I’m glad I was able to save someone’s life on Saturday.”