A police officer trying to apprehend a potentially dangerous suspect is grateful for the assistance he received from a good Samaritan. The unexpected help came as the officer struggled to keep the suspect from grabbing his gun.
The intense confrontation was captured on the officer's dashcam.
Edmond police said the incident started shortly after 4 p.m. Monday. The officer was responding to a reported sighting at Crest Foods at Santa Fe and SW 15 Street of a car carrying suspects believed to be in possession of stolen credit cards.
En route to the scene, the officer saw the car, a gray Nissan, southbound on Santa Fe, between SW 15 and Edmond Road. Dashcam video shows that the officer made a U-turn and followed the car as it turned into the parking lot of a strip shopping center on the southeast corner of Santa Fe and Edmond Road.
According to police, the officer saw the suspects run into one of the businesses in the shopping center, the Studio J School of Dance. Inside, the suspects reportedly ran into a studio with young children and began discarding evidence -- wallets and credit cards.
The lone officer, concerned for the safety of the children, tried to gain physical control of one of the suspects, but was unable to gain the upper hand, and was under assault by the suspect, Yohanker Paradela-Moreu.
"He was punching him," said Jenny Wagnon, Edmond police spokeswoman. "You can see in the video he's trying to grab for his gun."
Now back out in the parking lot, the officer's dashcam shows the officer, on the ground, twisting his body to prevent Paradela-Moreu from reaching his weapon. Just at the time, a second officer arrives, and then, moments later, an unknown male citizen who, without hesitation, grabs the suspect's legs and helps put him on the ground.
"We actually had a citizen jump in, and [he] was able to throw the suspect down and put some pretty slick moves on him," Wagnon said.
Edmond police said they don't encourage citizens to jump into a police action, but nonetheless are extremely grateful for the timely help of this man, who, they say, certainly seemed to know what he was doing. Wagnon said they plan to publicly recognize the man for his help at an appropriate time.
Perhaps more important, police say, is that this incident shows what officers are up against on any given day.
"We want people to see, in this video, how quickly the situations escalate," Wagnon stated. "We have one officer who's being dragged on his back out through the parking lot, while someone is punching him, trying to grab for his weapon."
Police said they recovered three wallets and 60 stolen credit cards.
Paradela-Moreu was booked into the Oklahoma County jail, while at least one other suspect, who drove off during the altercation, remains at large.