Three Polk citizens honored for protecting deputy from attack

Left to right Antonio Velasquez, George Cooper, Chris Carver

POLK COUNTY, FL (WFLA) –  They jumped into a fight to save a Polk County deputy.  And now three everyday citizens are hailed heroes for their selfless actions and for saving the man in uniform.

A traffic stop last month could have gone terribly wrong for Deputy Michael Walsh after a man pulled over for running a stop sign turned violent.   But three strangers made a choice, that has even the top cop in awe.

Polk Sheriff Grady Judd has a new story he shares when speaking before a crowd. “They stopped their vehicle not to get out with their cell phone and take a picture, but to jump in and help.  And the three of them helped our deputy,” Judd told a congregation at First Baptist Church at the Mall in Lakeland Sunday.

Original Story: Polk men come to aid of deputy being attacked

It’s a story about selfless citizens who showed they stand behind law enforcement. In this case, Chris Carver, Antonio Velasquez and George Cooper are credited with saving the life of Polk Master Deputy Michael Walsh last month

“He was striking wildly, just throwing lefts and rights,” Walsh remembered of the suspect.

Thirty-two- year old Corey Johnson became physically violent toward Walsh on a traffic stop and was in a struggle for the deputy’s gun. The three passersby saw what was happened and pulled over to help break it up.

Monday the trio was recognized by the sheriff for what they humbly describe as an instinct reaction. “I hit him and I kicked him and he fell to the ground,” Velasquez said.

“I saw a struggle, went out and helped him,” Carver said.

To them, it was a no brainer to back Walsh up.

“You see a man get beat up, you’re supposed to help,” Cooper said.

The deputy made it out with a broken thumb; it’s a minor injury to what he fears could have happened had he been in  the fight alone.

“I’m just very touched for all of their help that they did for me that day,” Walsh said.

An extra surprise Monday, Texas Roadhouse gave them each steak dinners for a year.

Corey Johnson remains in the Polk County Jail. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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