Hammond, IN – A man who rushed to help a Hammond officer who was being attacked during a traffic stop was honored by the police department for his heroic effort.
The incident occurred at approximately 2:30 p.m. on June 1, after a 15-year-old female reported that a man in a car had grabbed her and tried to pull her into his vehicle, the Hammond Police Department said in a Facebook post.
The female was able to escape the man’s grasp and run away.
Several minutes later, a 10-year-old female reported that a male tried to lure her into his vehicle, as well.
Witnesses’ descriptions of the suspect and his vehicle led officers to believe that the same man had likely tried to abduct both of the young ladies.
Hammond Police Officer Daniel Sangkaratana spotted the man’s vehicle a short while later and pulled him over.
Police said that the driver, later identified as 27-year-old Illinois resident Randol Thomas Palmer Hall, was frothing at the mouth and appeared to be under the influence of drugs, The Times of Northwest Indiana reported.
Hall “immediately exited his vehicle and began to walk around with a blank stare,” the department said in the Facebook post.
He also ignored Officer Sangkaratana’s commands before he re-entered his vehicle and began to reach under the seat.
“Fearing that the suspect was reaching for a weapon, Officer Sangkaratana ran up the suspect and grabbed his arm attempting to stop the suspect from grabbing a weapon,” Hammond police said. “The suspect spun around and began to fight with the officer.”
That’s when 48-year-old Patrick Baum happened to drive up on the scene, and saw what was happening, The Times of Northwest Indiana reported.
"[The suspect] had a crazy look in his eye," Baum said. "I was like, 'Wow, I got to get out of the truck.'"
Baum said he exited his vehicle and hesitated for a moment, because he wasn’t sure if the officer needed his help or if he would be in the way, he said.
Then, Baum saw Hall reach for Officer Sangkaratana’s duty weapon.
"I was like, 'No, I gotta do something,'" Baum recalled. "It just happened so fast, it was scary."
Baum jumped into the scuffle and tackled Hall to the ground. He then helped to hold him down until other officers arrived and placed Hall under arrest.
Hall was subsequently charged with attempted criminal confinement, battery against a public safety official, disarming a law enforcement officer, resisting law enforcement, and battery.
It wasn’t until later that Baum learned why the officer had pulled Hall over.
Baum, who has several granddaughters, said he was glad to know that he had a hand in helping to get a man suspected of attempted child kidnapping put behind bars.
On June 19, the Hammond Police Department honored Baum with an award for bravery.
“The Hammond Police Department would like to thank Mr. Patrick Baum for his selfless and brave actions that afternoon,” the department said. “He risked his personal safety to assist an officer in need while he was trying to secure a dangerous individual believed to be involved in multiple child abductions.”
“Mr. Baum’s actions that day helped to avoid a potential tragedy,” the agency added.
Not only did he help Officer Sangkaratana – he also likely saved Hall’s life as well, Hammond Police Lieutenant Steve Kellogg told The Times of Northwest Indiana.
"The officer said he felt justified in using deadly force if he had to," Lt. Kellogg explained. "Just as those things were going through his head, Mr. Baum came and tackled him."
Baum said he was grateful for the award, but that he never expected to be recognized for what he did.
"I just think any male that comes upon a scene like that should just help," he told The Times of Northwest Indiana. "You see someone with a flat tire, you should just help with that. That’s just how I feel."