Highway Patrol Officer Beaten by Suspect, Good Samaritans Rush in to Save Him

On Friday evening, a large man gained the advantage in a fight with a California Highway Patrol officer. The officer was found in a headlock, struggling for air and time. Fortunately, three Good Samaritans came to his aid, fulfilling the officer’s warnings beforehand.

Everardo Navarro, 42, witnessed the altercation near the California 5 freeway in Santa Ana. He explained to the Los Angeles Times that the officer was not able to control the situation alone due to the suspect’s strength. The heroic Samaritan was driven by the thought of his own children, and the officer potentially having a family too. He ran across the traffic, followed by two other men, to help the officer.

KCAL reported that the officer had warned the suspect, later identified as 34-year-old Jaime Balderas Paniagua, for bending freeway signs and shouting at passersby. However, as the officer was about to leave, Paniagua attacked him.

Video footage of the event shows the suspect hitting the officer, then the two of them wrestling on the ground with the suspect having the upper hand. Navarro, upon arriving, punched the suspect in the ribs but was not successful in breaking the chokehold. The other two Samaritans stepped in to assist the officer and make sure the suspect couldn’t grab his sidearm. As a result, the suspect was apprehended and the officer was safe.

Anselmo Templado, a spokesman for the CHP, commended the Good Samaritans for their assistance. He noted that it was rare to see people step in to help in such circumstances, as they often just record the event. Paniagua was charged with various offenses, including assaulting and resisting arrest of a peace officer.