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Blaze News original: 10 times heroic bystanders stepped up despite the dangers and put a stop to violent crimes
Image source: Volusia (Fla.) Sheriff's Office

Blaze News original: 10 times heroic bystanders stepped up despite the dangers and put a stop to violent crimes

'Fear never crossed my mind,' said a cane-wielding great-grandmother who came to the rescue when a crook tried to rob her neighbor.

Blaze News just days ago published a rundown of "10 times bystanders failed to help victims of brutal violence — and often recorded video instead."

It's rough reading through that list — which is just a small sample of instances when people ignored violent crooks victimizing others right in front of them. Indeed, often bystanders and witnesses to crime don't feel safe or equipped to help crime victims — and there can be dire consequences for people who decide to step up.

'Thank you so much for helping me when I needed help. ... Your mama raised a good boy.'

But when bystanders do get involved to help those getting violently attacked, particularly when their efforts are successful, it's inspiring.

So here are 10 times when heroic bystanders stepped up despite the dangers and put a stop to violent crimes happening right in front of them:

Sheriff's bodycam video shows citizens rescuing deputy under attack during traffic stop and subduing suspect

Volusia (Florida) Sheriff's Deputy Anthony Zimmerer pulled over a motorist who reportedly cut across all lanes of traffic on May 18, 2021. Bodycam video captured the moment Zimmerer stopped the suspect, 41-year-old Frank Padilla Velez, and tried to speak with him. Velez reportedly resisted when the deputy tried to handcuff him, a struggle ensued, and the suspect elbowed the deputy in the head. Two civilians jumped in to help and subdued the suspect; one of the Good Samaritans suffered a gash on the side of his head.

A sheriff's office Facebook post praised "the two outstanding citizens who stopped to help," and Sheriff Mike Chitwood said both of them would be receiving citizen's awards "in recognition of their actions." Chitwood added, "All my respect and gratitude goes out to these two men who took action when they saw a deputy under attack. It makes me proud to know that in Volusia County, our residents still have our deputies' backs.'"

The sheriff's office said the suspect was charged with resisting an officer with violence, battery on a law enforcement officer, driving with a suspended license, careless driving, and expired registration.

Great-grandmother, 76, pulls out her cane, scares away thug who tried to steal elderly neighbor's purse. 'Fear never crossed my mind,' Miss Faye declares.

Miss Faye told KGO-TV she saw what she thought was a rideshare vehicle coming down her Oakland street on Oct. 12, 2022, after which a male exited the car and attacked her neighbor, who is in her late 70s. Ring video from Miss Faye's home — which you can view here — shows the crook pulling on her neighbor's purse as the elderly victim is on her back in the street, hanging on to her property and screaming.

With that, Miss Faye is seen moving as fast as she can out her front door with her cane in hand — and she managed to scare away the thug, who dropped the purse. Miss Faye even chucked her cane at the vehicle as it drove off.

"Fear never crossed my mind — 'cause I'm crazy, I guess," she told KGO with a chuckle. "I don't know. It's just something that's in my nature. I do things, and it doesn't bother me until a couple hours later. That's how I've always been."

And here's a cool update: Miss Faye — whose last name is Taylor — announced in April that she's running for Oakland City Council, KGO noted in a follow-up story. The election takes place in November.

"There's so much crime! But the police station is a block away. It's just that they're not scared — they have no fear," she told the station. "None of these kids have anything to fall back on, a trade to fall back on. I'd love to give teachers a bonus because they're having a hard time with these kids because they have no discipline."

Shoppers take matters into their own hands when male allegedly tries to rape woman in Walmart aisle

Image source: Miami-Dade police

Police said a woman was shopping in a northwest Miami Walmart on the evening of March 20, 2022, when 28-year-old Bredan Jarmal Harvey approached her from behind, pulled up her dress, and grabbed her. The suspect allegedly pushed the woman to the floor and "ripped off her underwear while grabbing her thighs and vagina" in the middle of the aisle, according to the arrest report. The victim screamed for help, and shoppers acted quickly, removing Harvey from the victim and subduing him until police arrived and arrested him. You can view video of shoppers subduing the suspect here. Police charged Harvey with attempted sexual battery, and he was being held on $50,000 bond, according to WTJV-TV. Miami-Dade County Court records indicated that Harvey was out on felony bond at the time of the assault for crimes that allegedly occurred one week before the Walmart attack. He also was on probation for a previous disorderly conduct conviction, Law & Crime noted.

Male attempts to kidnap 8-year-old boy right in front of his dad — but suspect doesn't get far, thanks to numerous bystanders who helped chase and restrain him

On March 27, Adrian Villanueva saw a male come up behind his 8-year-old son on a sidewalk in Ocean Beach, California — a San Diego neighborhood — and seemingly try to abduct the boy. It was all caught on surveillance video, which you can view here.

The alleged kidnapper reportedly told Villanueva, "This my son, this is my son," but Villanueva told KMFB-TV, "I pushed him. I said, 'No, he is not your son,' and then I tried to get him out. And that’s when he grabbed my kid, and he started running away through the street."

Good Samaritans and security guards from nearby bars helped thwart the kidnapping attempt and restrained the suspect until police arrived to arrest him. Police said Christopher Higginbotham, 38, was charged with false imprisonment and battery. Citing jail records, KMFB reported that Higginbotham is a wanted fugitive with a "history of felony convictions involving assault with a deadly weapon." Superior Court Judge Dwayne Moring on May 8 sentenced Higginbotham to two years in prison for false imprisonment of a child, KUSI-TV reported.

15-year-old ROTC hero sprints across parking lot, tackles thug who was attacking 65-year-old woman: 'It's just the right thing to do'

Billie Richert was physically attacked outside a Publix supermarket in Riverview, Florida, on Dec. 4, 2023, and later told WTVT-TV her assailant "told me to give him my keys, and I said no and turned away from him, and he was still all over me." Surveillance video — which you can view here — shows the suspect throwing Richert to the ground — and that's when 15-year-old Andrew jumped into action.

"I started chasing after him, and he turned around and tried to fight me," Andrew, a sophomore at Riverview High School, recounted to WTVT, adding that the suspect "was trying to grab my neck and grab my chain, and so I just kind of held him on the ground."

The station added that another hero named Dan, a former Green Beret, helped Andrew subdue the suspect until police arrived

"I mean that could be someone's mom, someone's aunt," Andrew added to WTVT. "Like, if that was my mom, and someone did that to my mom, and he got away, that's just, like, that's terrible."

The origin of Andrew's heroics? "I think it's just the way that I was raised," he told WTVT, "Just doing the right thing. Like, my parents had a huge impact and so did my friends."

Richert wasn’t injured and was in Virginia with family for Christmas when she learned about Andrew, the station said, adding that officials from his school arranged a FaceTime meeting so she could thank her teenage hero. "Thank you so much for helping me when I needed help," Richert told Andrew, adding that "your mama raised a good boy."

Robert Moore, 42, was arrested in connection with the incident and charged with robbery by sudden snatching, battery on a victim over 65, and battery, WTVT reported. Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said that "the swift actions of these Good Samaritans echo the strength and unity of our tight-knit community."

Bystanders rush over to help as homeless man physically attacks female police officer: 'He had a death grip on her'

Four bystanders came to the aid of a female police officer who was the victim of a homeless man's physical attack in San Francisco's Chinatown, and it was all caught on surveillance video — which you can view here. The attack took place on May 28, 2021, after the officer approached the suspect, who allegedly made racially charged threats against people in the area. The suspect appeared to follow her commands before turning around and attacking her. They both fell to the ground, and several bystanders rushed over to help the officer, after which other officers eventually arrived to arrest the man. One of the men who assisted the officer spoke to reporters about the incident.

"He had a death grip on her," Michael Waldorf — one of the men who came to the officer's aid — told ABC News. "He was holding on very tightly to her, squeezing her, squeezing her head and pulling her hair."

Police said they were investigating whether hate crime charges would apply to the attack against the officer, who is Asian. The officer was taken to a hospital for non-life-threatening injuries, including a bloody nose. Surveillance video captured an attack a few days later against an Asian-American woman in Chinatown in New York City.

Portland man knocks out active shooter who fired 29 shots, hogties him until police arrive

Image source: Oregon Department of Corrections

Luke Stolarzyk launched into a heated argument with his neighbor at the Stephens Creek Crossing apartments over a barking dog around 1:15 a.m. June 29, 2021, according to the Oregonian. Stolarzyk allegedly left the confrontation — only to return with an AR-15 rifle.

Stolarzyk, who was "visibly intoxicated," fired nearly 30 rounds indiscriminately into the southwest Portland apartment building, court documents said. Resident Peroz Khoshnaw said she was on her knees praying after the gunshots rang out; several bullets shattered her windows.

But neighbor John Dickson snuck up on the gunman from behind and hit him with a stick, KATU-TV reported. Dickson wrestled the gun away from Stolarzyk and punched the suspect until he was knocked unconscious.

Court documents said Dickson kneed the rifle out of Stolarzyk's hands, then took away the gun from the shooter before handing it to a bystander, who dismantled the weapon. The neighbors then hog-tied Stolarzyk until police arrived. The arrest warrant said responding officers arrived to find "several people standing around the defendant, who was hogtied and had been beaten up."

Stolarzyk was charged with second-degree attempted murder, four counts of unlawful use of a weapon, second-degree attempted assault, first-degree attempted assault, and 10 counts of recklessly endangering another person, according to KPTV-TV. Stolarzyk's bail was set at $320,000.

KOIN-TV reported in May 2022 that Stolarzyk was sentenced to eight years and four months in prison. He pleaded guilty a month prior to three counts of criminal mischief, two counts of unlawful use of a weapon, and two counts of recklessly endangering another person, the station said, adding that the remaining charges — including one count of attempted murder — were dismissed.

Business owner chases down, tackles homeless male who sucker-punched, robbed elderly victim 

Surveillance video reportedly from Aug. 1, 2022, shows a Hollywood business owner running down a homeless male who sucker-punched an elderly man and stole his personal items. "I took him down and just waited there until the police arrived," Tim Ratcliff told KTTV-TV. Video showed the reportedly homeless man walk into a restaurant and suddenly attack a man, after which the assailant runs off with the victim's phone and wallet. Ratcliff then comes into the video frame, chases after the man, then tackles him on the corner of La Brea Avenue and Hollywood Boulevard. Ratcliff said the suspect punched him in the face, but he was otherwise unhurt and held the suspect down until police arrived, the station said.

Ratcliff told KTTV one the officers told him they're tired of seeing so many homeless attacks: "A lot of people like myself are tired of this type of thing happening. We're seeing more and more people just not putting up with it and taking it into their own hands." As for intervening in crime in the future, Ratcliff added to the station that he'd "happily do it again."

Good Samaritan yanks gun from hooded motorcycle rider trying to rob limping man hollering, 'Help!' on NYC sidewalk

The New York Post reported that two suspects on a motorcycle were chasing a 28-year-old pedestrian before cornering the victim around 4:45 p.m. on Aug. 27, 2022. You can view video of the incident on Instagram.

The victim was limping before the crooks caught up to him, video showed. One suspect wearing a blue hoodie was holding a gun in his left hand as he grabbed the victim, the Post said, adding that the suspect punched the victim and appeared to try to grab something off his neck. The victim screamed “help!” six times, video showed. Police said the suspect fired at the victim but missed, the Post reported.

Video then showed the Good Samaritan running toward the scene from behind and going right for the suspect's gun, after which the gunman punched the Good Samaritan in the head, the paper said. But the Good Samaritan managed to pull the crook from the motorcycle and eventually wrestled the gun from his hands, the Post said. The suspect was able to get back on the motorcycle before the other crook — dressed in a dark hoodie — drove the duo away from the scene as the Good Samaritan gave chase to no avail.

The Post reported that the victim suffered minor injuries, and emergency medical personnel took him to a local hospital. No arrests were made at the time, the paper added.

Residents come to the rescue when small boy screams that a thug had kidnapped and was sexually assaulting him: Police

Residents of a Houston neighborhood were hailed as heroes for jumping into action when they heard a small boy yelling about an alleged kidnapping. The 11-year-old told KTRK-TV he was doing laundry at his apartment complex on June 14, 2022, when a man approached him and asked to borrow his laundry card. The boy said he went to ask his mother for permission. "She said yes because she was trying to help someone, you know?" the boy's sister said.

But the suspect allegedly pushed the boy into his car and threatened him with a gun. "He said 'obey me, or else you will get killed,'" the boy — who suffered scratches on his face and arm during the altercation — recalled.

"He grabbed my hands and tried to grab my phone, and put it somewhere else, but he forgot my hands were free," the boy continued. "So I tried to open the lock, I opened it, and I opened the door. ... I went outside and called for help."

That's when neighbors came running. Video shows them grabbing the suspect and holding him down until police arrived. At one point, a woman slaps him. Police identified the suspect as 30-year-old Miguel Angel Cordero Ramirez, and he was charged with aggravated kidnapping and jailed on a $250,000 bond.

The victim said he wanted to be a police officer, and he's more eager than ever to follow his dream now, in light of the harrowing incident. Of the suspect, the victim said, "I want him to stay in jail forever and never do this again."

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Dave Urbanski

Dave Urbanski

Sr. Editor, News

Dave Urbanski is a senior editor for Blaze News.
@DaveVUrbanski →