WINTER HAVEN, FL (WFLA) – George Cooper had his chihuahua Koko by his side Sunday morning as he drove to get breakfast. But when he saw an officer being assaulted on the side of the road, he stopped in his tracks.
“The boy he just knocked the officer back off of the door then got on top and started whaling on him, started hitting him, knocked him down to the ground,” said Cooper.
“I just said I got to stop this because hey man I don’t want the man to die. This man, I know he has children, I know he has a family somewhere, his family wouldn’t want that to happen to me, I wouldn’t want it to happen to their family,” added Cooper.
Cooper jumped out of his truck and ran after the man, who the Polk County Sheriff’s Office has identified as 32 year-old Corey Johnson. “I ran after him and as I ran at him the other guy tripped him,” said Cooper.
The other guy who jumped in was 36 year-old Antonio Velazquez. “I just park my truck in the middle of the road. I run to them and he’s really fast, so I kick him and I punch him and he’s going to the ground,” said Velazquez who jumped out of his car so fast, he didn’t even tell his wife why. “I see he’s in trouble so I just have to stop and help. Even if he’s not a police officer, I would do it for anybody,” said Velazquez.
The men found the deputy, Deputy Mike Walsh in a bad situation. Walsh had pulled over Johnson when he ran a stop sign. When Cooper and Velazquez approached, they say they found Johnson swinging at Deputy Walsh and grabbing for his gun. “That boy would’ve killed him, because the boy was on top of him beating him up, he was trying to get up but he couldn’t,” said Cooper.
Deputy Walsh has a broken thumb and cuts and bruises but he will be okay. Cooper and Velazquez, along with another man Christopher Carver were able to help Deputy Walsh get Johnson to the ground and in handcuffs.
Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd saying “We can never thank them enough for the selfless actions.” Johnson had a warrant out of Highlands County for non-payment of child support. He is now facing a slew of charges in Polk County.