SANTA ANA, Calif. – Three Good Samaritans jumped into action to assist a motorcycle officer with the California Highway Patrol who was engaged in an altercation with a resistant man at the busy entrance to a freeway onramp in Santa Ana.
Cellphone video captured the moment the men offered the officer assistance on May 19 at around 5 p.m., at the Main Street northbound entrance to the 5 Freeway in Santa Ana, KTLA reported.
CHP dispatched officers to the area upon receiving reports of a man yelling at drivers and trying to take down a freeway sign. The officer planned to let the man go with a warning when he became aggressive and suddenly attacked, officials said.
“Many of these situations, they end up becoming dangerous at a moment’s notice,” CHP Officer Anselmo Templado told the news outlet.
The officer is seen on video engaged in a physical confrontation with the man just steps from the freeway onramp. After a short period of time, the three men passing by can be seen rushing to assist the officer.
Everardo Navarro was one of those Good Samaritans who helped. As he watched the situation unfold, he quickly realized the officer needed assistance.
“Since I see the officer down, I was concerned about the guy grabbing the officer’s gun and shooting the officer,” Navarro told KTLA. “That was my biggest concern and possibly doing the same to me. So, in that moment, I didn’t have any other choice.”
Anselmo noted that it’s unusual to see people jumping in to help police and that he’s grateful they assisted the motor officer when he needed a backup.
“I think it’s amazing that three Good Samaritans came in and stepped in and helped our officer out,” he said. “It’s not very often that you see something like that. Usually, it’s just people recording and standing by, but I just want to thank those three Good Samaritans for helping out our officer. It could’ve ended very badly, but luckily for them no one was seriously injured, and we got the subject under control.”
Navarro demonstrated his sense of humanity when talking to the news outlet.
“We’re just all human beings. I would do that for anybody any time,” he said.
Jaime Paniagua, 33, was identified as the suspect. He was taken into custody and faces charges, which include assault and battery on a peace officer, and resisting arrest.
The CHP officer was taken to a local hospital and received treatment for minor injuries.