Police are lauding the heroism of a man whose quick action saved his friend's life after the pair were attacked while walking their dogs Saturday, authorities reported.
"It is likely [the 68-year-old female victim] would not have survived the attack if her friend hadn't acted so quickly and heroically," the Moab City Police Department said in a statement addressing the grisly encounter.
"We want to recognize the heroism and bravery shown by the victim's friend/neighbor. He has expressed the desire to remain anonymous and would request time to heal emotionally and deal with the trauma of the incident," the statement also said.
A 53-year-old man and his friend were walking their dogs along a pathway next to Millcreek in Moab City, Utah, around 7 a.m. when they noticed a man who appeared to have started a campfire in a parking lot by the stream. After informing the man that camping and campfires are illegal within the city limits, they continued on their walk.
Authorities described what happened next as "attempted homicide" in their press release. The man the pair saw, 38-year-old Alexander Kensell, then allegedly tased the woman. When she fell, he repeatedly stabbed her with a fixed blade.
The man, also a victim of Kensell's assault, forced the suspect away from the woman, created a distraction, and got the suspect to chase him.
"His action effectively kept the assailant away from his friend," police said.
Moab City Police officers and Grand County Sheriff's Office deputies arranged for medical attention. The woman, who was in serious condition, was first transported to Moab Regional Hospital. Later, she was flown to Utah Valley Regional Hospital for advanced care. The woman is now in stable condition, authorities said.
Kensell, whom authorities believe arrived in the town recently from out of state, was booked into Grand County Jail.
An inmate list for Grand County Jail updated Monday shows Alexander M. Kensell was booked on felony charges of aggravated assault and homicide.
The Moab City Police Department noted it had recently increased enforcement of ordinances barring in-city camping and will continue with that approach. Police say they are "actively engaged with community leaders and service providers to find meaningful solutions and resources to address homelessness and mental health issues in Moab City."
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