Pedro Perez was driving around noon Tuesday when he saw Springfield police officers grappling with an armed robbery suspect on Chapin Terrace just after noon on Tuesday.
Officers were attempting to arrest a suspect, later identified as Joseph Gonzalez, 41. Perez asked officers if they needed help, jumped out of the car, and joined officers in an attempt to restrain Gonzalez.
However, a second mate arrived on the scene and both officers attempted to disarm him, allowing Gonzalez to grab the officer’s service pistol.
Police said Gonzalez fired two shots with a police officer’s rifle.
One hit Gonzalez’s own hand and the other hit Perez’s truck. Both shots narrowly missed both the cop and Perez. Officers then took the gun out of Gonzales’ hands and were able to arrest him at 12:40 p.m.
A few minutes ago, around 12:25 pm, officers responded to Block 500 of Armory Street and received a report of an armed robbery at the Metro PCS. Police said Gonzalez pulled out a knife and stole undisclosed cash from the cash register.
Later, while arresting Gonzales, officers recovered a large knife and cash stolen from Gonzales’ Metro PCS.
City leaders applauded Perez for stopping to help police officers.
“Without Mr. Perez’s help, there is no doubt that the outcome of this case would have been very different,” Springfield Police Chief Cheryl Claplord said in a statement. Saved the life of a field cop This dangerous suspect has no regard for anyone’s livelihood and my cops involved risked their lives to prevent this person from doing further harm. The officers displayed a degree of professionalism and courage that their families, fellow officers, and residents of the cities they serve should be very proud of.”
Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno called Perez a “good Samaritan” who “was in the right place at the right time.”
“Police Chief Sheryl Claplord and I are grateful that the first responder was not seriously injured. We wish him a speedy recovery and encouragement.” The officers showed a great deal of restraint,” Sarno said. “This case could have had a very different ending, but thanks to the efforts of this good Samaritan, Pedro Perez, who was in the right place at the right time, he was on the verge of detaining the suspect. We were able to assist our police officers.”
“When I called Mr. Perez to thank him, he simply and humbly stated that this is how he was raised to help those in need,” Sarno said. “Again, these criminals have little to no regard for the safety and lives of residents and brave and dedicated police officers. Had it been successful, and Mr Perez had not come to his aid, there is little doubt that this violent criminal suspect would have taken the lives of officers and anyone else who stood in his way.”
Sarno and Clapprode said, “We hope our courts do the right thing and take this case seriously, hold this dangerous suspect in custody and release him into the streets and neighborhoods to prevent further chaos.” He has already demonstrated his willingness to use his gun to harm SPD officers and anyone close by.”
Gonzalez was sent to a local hospital for treatment of his injuries. The co-pilot was also sent to the hospital for treatment.
Mastroianni’s Auto Body on Taylor Street repaired Perez’s bullet-hit car free of charge and offered to provide him with transportation until the job was completed.
Police say Gonzalez faces numerous charges. Assault and assault on a police officer, two counts. armed robbery and masked robbery. From a building he fires a firearm within 500 feet. Assaults and batteries to disarm police officers. Possession of a firearm during execution of a felony; Possession of ammunition without an FID card; Stealing a firearm; Resisting arrest; Malicious damage to a motor vehicle;
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