The New England Patriots‘ Justin Herron is a hero, and the label has nothing to do with his actions on the football field. The 25-year-old heading into his second year in the NFL did something far more important to earn the tag.
Herron was honored on Wednesday by the Tempe, Arizona Police Department for his part in helping stop an attempted sexual assault on Saturday in a park.
A 30-year-old suspect pushed a 71-year-old retired teacher to the ground. Herron and a second man, Murry Rogers, saw the attack, came to the woman’s rescue, stopped the attack, and detained the suspect until police arrived.
The police honored Herron and Rogers, calling both good Samaritans.
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Detective Natalie Barela of the Tempe Police Department said the following at a news conference on Wednesday (h/t ESPN’s Mike Reiss).
We are here to honor two good Samaritans that intervened during this vicious attack and detained the suspect until police could arrive and make sure that he was taken into custody. If not for the swift actions of Mr. Justin Herron and Mr. Murry Rogers, this vicious attack could’ve been much worse.
Chief Jeff Glover added: “The impact they’ve had on our victim’s life; these two individuals stepped forward and truly saved her life.”
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According to Barela, the victim, who hasn’t been identified, “has experienced a significant amount of trauma, but she is working through some of these things and physically doing OK.”
Herron, who was presented a citizenship award talked about the experience in the video below:
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. In that moment, I was in shock. It was 11, in the middle of the day, not one cloud in the sky and in a very open field. The fact it happened there, at that time, was very shocking. In the moment, I wish I could tell you what I was thinking. I just knew someone just needed help. All I could do was just rush myself over there to make sure I could help the victim and make sure I could comfort her and be the best person I can be.
Herron is a huge man at 6’5 and 305 pounds, and according to Reiss’ report, he says his size and strength were a factor in corralling the suspect. Even more than that, Herron says he used his voice to gain control of the situation.
I’m a football player, so I’m kind of big. I try not to be too aggressive with people knowing I could potentially hurt somebody. I do have a very loud voice, so all I did was just yell, tell him to get off her, and then yanked him off. And I told him to sit down and wait until the cops come.
The victim has met with Herron and Rogers, and it was said to have been an emotional encounter. Still, weeks after the ordeal, Herron insists he’s not a hero.
A Little More About Herron
Herron was drafted in the sixth round of the 2020 NFL Draft after attending Wake Forest. Along with fellow late-round draftee Michael Onwenu, Herron played a surprisingly big role for the team in 2020, thanks to a slew of injuries.
He played in 12 games as a rookie, starting six of them. No matter how big of a role he plays for the Patriots on the field moving forward, he’ll never do anything in football more important than what he did in the park this past week.