Los Angeles, CA – Three good Samaritans rushed to help a Los Angeles County deputy who was on the ground fighting with a suspect in front of the Circle K on Sunday afternoon (video below).
The incident occurred at about 3:10 p.m. on Aug. 25 in the parking lot in the 15000-block of Leffingwell Road in South Whittier, KTLA reported.
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy Eric Ortiz said the deputy was responding to a report of a suspicious person in front of the Circle K.
When the deputy arrived on the scene, the suspect immediately started arguing with him so the deputy called for backup, KTLA reported.
But before backup arrived, the argument escalated into a fight after the homeless suspect took a swing at the deputy.
"At some point, the suspect took a fighting stance and swung at the deputy, and a fight ensued," Deputy Ortiz said. "While on the ground, the suspect reached for the deputy's handgun."
Surveillance video of the parking lot showed the 23-year-old deputy struggling with the suspect up against a black Jeep Wrangler, and then the two going to the ground.
Seconds later, as the deputy was in a fight for his life, three different individuals came from three different directions to jump into the fray and assist the deputy, the video showed.
The first man to help had been watching the fight from the other side of the Jeep.
Brian Whitney, 26, was at work at the Circle K when the fight broke out in front of the store and he went outside to help the deputy.
“I heard the officer yelling, ‘Get your hand off my gun,'” Whitney told KCBS. “So then I went in and I ripped the dude’s hands off the officer’s gun.”
Once the suspect was under control, he ran back inside the store and called 911 while the other two good Samaritans continued to assist the deputy, KCBS reported.
In the video, the third good Samaritan can be seen sliding a gun magazine away from the fray where it had dropped on the pavement.
The citizens helped the deputy to keep the suspect under control until backup arrived a couple minutes later, KCBS reported.
“He was having a hard time with that guy, and without the help of the good Samaritans, I’m concerned about that,” Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Captain Jim Tatreau said. “We’ve had some very good citizens here in La Mirada, Whittier and Norwalk. And it just reinforces your belief in being all together.”
Captain Tatreau took to social media to express his gratitude.
The deputy was a rookie just days away from completing his training with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, according to KTLA.
The sheriff’s department said the deputy was not injured in the brawl but that he would be taking a few days off.
The homeless man who tried to take the deputy’s gun was arrested and charged with assault, KCBS reported.
Watch three good Samaritans jump in to help the deputy in the video below: