An armed citizen was driving to a conference when he saw a state trooper being brutally beaten on the side of the road. With the help of his gun, he was able to stop the attacker and save the officer’s life, CNN reported.
In the wee hours of January 12, Arizona state trooper Ed Andersson responded to a call that a man was shooting at cars along the I-10 highway. When he arrived at the location in question, he found a man bent over a woman who had been thrown from a nearby car that was now overturned.
After Andersson blocked off the road and called for medical assistance, the man on the side of the road had disappeared from sight, and remerged from the darkness a few moments later pointing his gun right at the state trooper.
The shooter, who was later identified as 37-year-old Leonard Penuelas-Escobar, shot Andersson once in the shoulder before knocking Andersson off his feet.
“I would try to get my Taser out,” Andersson told CNN. “But every time I would do that, he would strike me in the head, and pound my head on the pavement.”
Thomas Yoxall, a photographer who was legally packing heat in the center console of his pickup truck, happened to be driving by when he saw the state trooper being savagely beaten by Penuelas-Escobar.
“I yell out to the suspect to stop, I said ‘get off him!'” Yoxall said,. “His facial expression, the look in his eye (was) ‘evil,’ if I had to put a word on it.”
After Penuelas-Escobar ignored repeated commands to stop, Yoxall shot the attacker twice — once in the chest and once in the head — likely saving Andersson’s life. After Andersson was air-lifted to a hospital, underwent surgery, and received more than 100 stitches and staples, doctors were able to stabilize him.
“As much as I fought, at one point I probably couldn’t have gone on anymore,” Andersson said. “I probably wouldn’t be here (if it weren’t for Yoxall).”
In 2000, Yoxall was charged with theft, a felony later pled down to a misdemeanor, which allowed a judge to give the avid hunter his gun rights back.
“God chose to put me in that place at that particular moment,” said Yoxall, who said he cleaned up his life after finding God. “I just can’t see an evil like that perpetuated without intervening.”
The two men have formed what they describe as a lifelong bond.
“And not just between me and him,” Andersson said. “But between my family and him, too.”