Patriots’ Herron hailed after helping stop attempted sexual assault

NFL: Combine
FILE PHOTO: Feb 26, 2020; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Wake Forest offensive lineman Justin Herron (OL21) speaks to the media during the 2020 NFL Combine in the Indianapolis Convention Center. Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

March 26, 2021

(Reuters) – New England Patriots offensive lineman Justin Herron was honoured with an “Outstanding Citizen” certificate by the Tempe Police Department after he helped to stop an attempted sexual assault in a park.

Herron intervened after he saw a 71-year-old woman shoved to the ground by an assailant. He shouted to draw attention and restrained the attacker with the help of a second man, Murry Rogers, until police arrived.

“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 he was taken into custody,” Detective Natalie Barela said at a news conference.

“If not for the swift actions of Justin Herron and Murry Rogers, this vicious attack could’ve been much worse.”

Herron said he was shocked by the incident.

“It was something I never dreamed or I thought I would see, you know,” Herron said. “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.

“It was in the middle of the day, not one cloud in the sky and in a very open field. It was just the fact that it had happened there at that time was just very, very shocking.”

The 25-year-old, who was selected by the Patriots in the sixth round of the 2020 draft, was overwhelmed after meeting the victim.

“It was heartwarming to see her, but also gut-wrenching to see how she responded to the trauma,” he said. “No one should go through that. It was emotional for me and for everybody in the room.”

(Reporting by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Kim Coghill)