New England Patriots' Justin Herron Hailed as a ‘Hero’ After Rescuing Woman from Alleged Sexual Assault
New England Patriots offensive lineman Justin Herron helped rescue a 71-year-old woman who authorities say was about to be sexually assaulted.
The Tempe Police Department held a press conference on Wednesday presenting Herron, 25, and another Good Samaritan with Outstanding Service Awards for their heroic actions.
The suspect, identified as 30-year-old Kevin Caballero, had pushed the woman to the ground and attempted to remove her pants in Kiwanis Park in Ariz. when the Patriots star and another man intervened, police said during the press conference.
"If not for the swift actions of Mr. Justin Herron and Mr. Murry Rogers, this vicious attack could've been much worse," Detective Natalie Barela said.
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Herron took the podium and said he heard screaming when he went over to the scene of the crime.
"At that moment, I was in shock," the NFL player said. "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."
"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," the 6 foot 5 inches, 304-pound offensive tackler 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."
The Patriots player added, "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."
"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," Herron said. "Nobody should have to go through that."
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Rogers also spoke at the press conference and discussed how he and Herron kept an eye on the attacker to make sure he didn't run off after they called police.
"After he got off of her, we looked at each other and said we need to make sure he doesn't go anywhere," Rogers said, adding that Herron also made sure to get the victim at a safe place away from the suspect.
The Good Samaritan revealed that he later met up with the 71-year-old victim again and she referred to him and Herron as "her angels."
The Tempe Police Department Special Victims Unit revealed at the press conference that they are working with other agencies across the Valley to determine whether Caballero has any connection to any other attack.
Caballero has been charged with attempted sexual assault and kidnapping.
A lawyer for Caballero could not immediately be identified by PEOPLE.
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, please contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or go to rainn.org.
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