Patriots’ offensive lineman Justin Herron, 25, was walking at Kiwanis Park in Tempe, Arizona when he heard screaming.
He ran toward the commotion and saw a 30-year old male attempting to sexually assault a 71-year-old woman. The suspect had pushed the elderly woman to the ground and was attempting to remove the victim’s pants when Herron and another bystander, Murry Rogers, interfered.
“At that moment, I was in shock. 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 said
“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… 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.”
Herron and Rogers pulled the suspect off of the woman, and made sure that the attacker would not run off while they called the police. They kept the victim at a safe distance from her attacker as well.
“After he got off of her, we looked at each other and said we need to make sure he doesn’t go anywhere…
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. 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.”Justin Herron
At a press conference, the Tempe Police Department Special Victims Units shared that they are trying to determine if the suspect can be connected to other attacks.
The suspect has been charged with attempted sexual assault and kidnapping. Herron and Rogers later met up with the victim, a retired schoolteacher who referred to the two men as, “her angels.”
Herron said at the press conference that he is glad to have been at the right place at the right time, while also expressing his frustrations with the situation:
“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… Nobody should have to go through that.”
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.