Police in Memphis say bystanders helped subdue a pedestrian who reached into a squad car and tried to strangle an officer and then went for the officer’s gun.

Alphonso Johnson

Alphonso Johnson

The officer saw the suspect walking in traffic Saturday afternoon, trying to hit passing cars and yelling. After Officer Jennifer Robison approached Alphonso Johnson to investigate, WHBQ-TV in Memphis reported that Johnson reached into the squad car window and grab Robison around the neck.

Police said he also tried to undo the officer’s holster and yelled: “Give me your gun; I’m going to kill you.”

But when people watching from the corner saw what was happening to Officer Robison, they came to her aid and helped her hold Johnson down until backup arrived.

The officer avoided serious injuries and was working Sunday, according to the police press release.

As for Johnson, he’s being held on $200,000 bond, WHBQ reported, and is due in court on Monday on an attempted first-degree murder charge.

Shelby County jail records show that Johnson, 27, was also charged with resisting arrest. Neither police nor jail officials knew if Johnson had a lawyer.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.