TEMPE, Ariz. (WPRI) — Arizona police honored a New England Patriots offensive lineman Wednesday for intervening in the attack of a 71-year-old woman over the weekend.
Police said Justin Herron, as well as another man, Murry Rogers, stepped in and stopped a man who tried to sexually assault the woman in a park Saturday morning.
“If not for the swift actions of Mr. Justin Herron and Mr. Murry Rogers, this vicious attack could’ve been much worse,” Tempe Police Detective Natalie Barela said.
Both Herron and Rogers were able to pull the man off of the woman and hold him until police arrived.
“You see it in movies and on TV all the time, but you never think it will happen in real life until it does,” Herron said, adding that he was in Arizona for off-season training.
“I wish I could tell you what I was thinking, but I could just tell someone needed help,” he continued. “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 said he didn’t think twice about intervening, adding that he did what his parents always taught him to do: help others.
“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 explained. “But I do have a loud voice. So I yelled, I told him to get off of her and then I yanked him off and I told him to sit down and I told him to wait until the cops come.”
Both Herron and Rogers were able to reunite with the victim earlier this week, who personally thanked them for their heroic actions.
“I never thought in a thousand years I would ever see her again,” Herron recalled. “It was heartwarming to see her, but gut-wrenching to see how she responded to the trauma and how she’s dealing with it. No one should go through that.”
Herron said while it was an emotional reunion for everyone involved, they all agreed that coming together and having the connection makes it worthwhile.