LEWISVILLE, Tx. – Police in Texas got a helping hand from a few Good Samaritans last week when a fleeing suspect was tackled by a former rugby player, Fox News reported.
The reports said that the criminal is off the streets and in jail after a citizen literally pounced on him as he was running from police.
On June 22, Officer Jeff Carey spotted a man digging through a vehicle that turned out to be stolen. As Officer Carey climbed out of his cruiser to approach the man, the suspect took off on foot, quickly outrunning the officer. He remained on the loose for the next few hours.
Shortly after, authorities say Officer Carey spotted the suspect outside of a local restaurant. Carey quickly hopped out of his vehicle and began chasing the suspect on foot.
That’s when former rugby player, Michael Barrera, noticed the pursuit. Barrera had reportedly just finished a meal at the restaurant with his family and was returning because of a forgotten item.
The opportunity for a takedown presented itself. So Barrera leapt into action, lunging at the fleeing suspect and successfully taking him the ground.
“I played a lot of rugby in my days, you know, I’m a little older now, I still got little wheels,” Barrera told FOX4 in an interview. “It’s like a rugby ball, go after it. You know, the game ain’t over ‘til it’s over.”
Officer Carey said he noticed a “blur” as Barrera took out the suspect. Carey was able to quickly get to the pair on the ground and took the suspect into custody.
But the tale of the Good Samaritans doesn’t end there.
“As soon as I put the handcuffs on the suspect, my mind goes straight to my vehicle,” Carey said.
Having jumped out to pursue his perp, Carey had left his door wide open and his vehicle unattended with the keys still in the ignition.
But when he got back to the cruiser, he noticed it wasn’t sitting by itself.
While Barrera was assisting Carey with the takedown, his uncle George stood guard by the empty cruiser.
“I wouldn’t want nobody to steal something out of my vehicle if I leave the door open, you know, so that was my instinct to stay behind,” he said.
Police took the time to thank the men for their assistance with the suspect, noting that there was also a third unidentified man who helped.
“Besides taking that suspect into custody, that was the most important thing that happened to me that day, so I really appreciate it, both you guys,” Carey said.
“We believe in community policing and these three men exemplify how working together can help keep our community safe,” the department said in a statement following the situation. “Thank you for being our other Brothers in Blue and our Green Guardian.”
Barrera said it was just the right thing to do.
“Once they get in that vehicle and start their day, they got our back,” he said. “Lending a hand to any officer is a blessing.”