Justin Herron is an offensive tackle for the New England Patriots. He’s also a hero after taking quick action to prevent a woman from being sexually assaulted in a Arizona park last weekend.
According to 12 News, a 71-year-old retired school teacher was going for a walk in Tempe’s Kiwanis Park when police allege that 30-year-old Kevin Caballero pushed her to the ground, “held her down and attempted to remove her pants.” Herron, along with Phoenix resident Murray Rogers, was in the park and both men rushed to help the woman after hearing cries for help.
“At that moment, I was in shock,” Herron told 12 News. “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’s 6-foot-5 and weighs over 300 pounds, said he tried not to be too aggressive when he pulled Caballero off the woman because he knew he could potentially hurt him. “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.” Rogers told 12 News that Herron took the woman away from the attacker and did his best to comfort her while they waited for authorities to arrive.
Caballero was eventually arrested and has been charged with attempted sexual assault and kidnapping, with Tempe Police Department Special Victims Unit working with other agencies to determining if Caballero was previously responsible for similar incidents. The victim was treated at the scene for “mild injuries,” with the department’s crisis unit also on hand to help with any emotional trauma the woman experienced.
Tempe police praised the actions of both men, with Det. Natalie Barela telling 12 News, “If not for the swift actions of Mr. Justin Herron and Mr. Murry Rogers, this vicious attack could’ve been much worse.”
The two men were awarded with Outstanding Service Awards at a press conference on Wednesday, according to NBC News. The two men were able to meet the victim who called both of them “angels.” While both men have rightfully been called heroes, they downplayed the label and said their thoughts were with the woman who was attacked.
“If someone needs your help, go help them. I never thought this would happen, and I don’t want it to happen again,” Herron said at the press conference. “Nobody should have to go through that.”