Jeremy Wachsmuth was driving away from his daughter’s school on May 8 when he noticed a police officer in need of assistance. Officer Briana Johnson of Coon Rapids, Minnesota, was pinned on her back by Stephen Pearson, who had just been released from prison. Her head dangled over the curb.
“She was trying to hold her gun while he was trying to grab it,” Wachsmuth said. “So I slammed on the brakes, ran over there tackled him.”
Coon Rapids Capt. Jon Urqhart said Johnson was responding to a medical call about Pearson, who was sleeping on the side of the road and smelled like alcohol, reports KSMP. According to the criminal complaint, Pearson said "I hate the cops, I will kill you,” and tackled Johnson.
Johnson was with a reserve officer at the time of the incident. As Wachsmuth went to help Johnson, the reserve officer called for help. “I think he assisted the situation correctly and did what a citizen should have done,” Urqhart said. “Not that we advocate people doing this all the time, but he made the correct decision.”
Watchsmuth brushed off the praise. “They do a lot for us,” he said. “They risk their lives, they leave their family. As I said on my Facebook page, she's the hero... not me.”
He wrote on Facebook: “She leaves her family to protect mine. If i could go back and say on thing to this guy i would tell him ‘don't mess with the people that would protect me without knowing me, she is my hero!’”
Pearson was released from prison two weeks ago, but he’s now facing charges of attempting to disarm a police officer, fourth-degree assault, and making a terroristic threat.
Image via KMSP