NFL player Justin Herron was at the right place at the right time when he was walking through a public park on Saturday, when he suddenly heard a woman screaming for help, PEOPLE reported.
“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,” Herron said.
The 25-year-old rookie who had recently finished up his first season with New England Patriots and was in Arizona for team training, was walking through a park in Tempe, Arizona, when the woman’s screams led him to a horrific scene. He found 30-year-old Kevin Caballero pinning down a 71-year-old retired teacher, attempting to pull her pants off.
Herron commented on the ordeal at a press conference held Wednesday:
“At that moment, I was in shock,” the NFL player said. “It was 11 a.m., middle of the day, in a very open field and the fact that it happened there at that time was just very shocking.
I wish I could tell you what I was thinking, but I could just tell someone needed help. All I could do was rush myself over there to make sure I could help the victim and I could comfort her and be the best person I can be.”
Herron rushed to the woman’s aid and pulled the man off of her while another man, Murry Rogers, took the perpetrator a safe distance away from the victim and held him until the police could arrived. Caballero was arrested and is being charged with attempted sexual assault and kidnapping.
“If not for the swift actions of Mr. Justin Herron and Mr. Murry Rogers, this vicious attack could’ve been much worse,” Tempe Police Detective Natalie Barela said.
— Tempe Police (@TempePolice) March 24, 2021
The Patriots player was modest about his role, and said he was just grateful to have been there at that moment:
“My parents always talked to me about it, if there’s someone in need, make sure you can help them and be the best you can be.
I don’t want this to happen again, I don’t want to have to save someone else’s life again, but I’m glad I was able to save someone’s life on Saturday.”
Prior to the press conference, the two heroes were reunited with the victim privately where she thanked them profusely and called them her “angels.”
“It was heartwarming to see her, but also gut-wrenching to see how she responded to the trauma and how she’s dealing with it,” Herron said. “No one should go through that.”
“She thanked us. She called us her angels,” said Rogers. “I’m a little bit of a crier, so it was very emotional.”