An NFL player is being called a hero by police for helping to save a retired schoolteacher from an attempted sexual assault in Arizona last Saturday.
Justin Herron, 25, and another bystander, Murry Rogers, were credited with stopping the attack.
Both were presented with Outstanding Service Awards by local police.
“You see it in movies and TV all the time, but you never think it’s going to happen in real life until it does,” Herron said.
“In that moment, I was in shock.
“I wish I could tell you what I was thinking, but I could just tell someone needed help.
“All I could do was rush myself over there to make sure I could help the victim and I could comfort her and be the best person I can be.”
A 30-year-old man was attempting to sexually assault a 71-year-old woman in a public park, according to police, when Herron and Rogers heard screams for help.
Herron, a 196cm tall and 136kg offensive lineman who just completed his rookie season with the New England Patriots, said he was taking a walk when he heard the attack.
“I just knew in that moment that I had to go,” said Herron, who ordered the man to stop and pulled him off the woman.
“I try not to be too aggressive with individuals, knowing that I could potentially hurt somebody.”
The suspect complied and remained stationary as police were en route.
Rogers said he was in the park for his daughter’s birthday party and kept the suspect from fleeing while Herron consoled the victim.
“It was terrifying to witness,” he said.
The man was taken into custody and the investigation into the attack is ongoing, police said.
“If not for the swift actions of Mr Justin Herron and Mr Murry Rogers, this vicious attack could’ve been much worse,” Tempe Police Detective Natalie Barela said.
The two Good Samaritans were reunited privately with the victim prior to the press conference.
“It was heartwarming to see her, but also gut-wrenching to see how she responded to the trauma and how she’s dealing with it,” Herron said.
“No one should go through that.”
Rogers said the woman thanked “her angels”.
“I’m a little bit of a crier, so it was very emotional,” he said.
Herron’s Wake Forest University college football coach Dave Clawson praised his former protege as a “role model” for the community.
“Wake Forest and our entire football program is proud of Justin and his recent heroic effort,” Clawson wrote.
“He’s a good football player and an even better man as evidence (sic) by this news. Justin is a role model for our current student-athletes and everyone in our community.”
– with 7NEWS