If you don’t live in Arizona, like I do, you probably didn’t hear about this story. An assailant is dead and the life of an Arizona Department of Public Safety officer was saved because an armed civilian took action.
According to reports from Arizona DPS, a shooting occurred at the scene of a rollover crash on Arizona’s I-10 east of the California border. The trooper, identified as Edward Andersson, a 27-year veteran of the force, was en route to a report of shots fired when he came upon the accident.
Initial details of the story were uncertain, but it was eventually revealed that that the suspect, Leonard Penuelas-Escobar, was involved in the rollover and cradled a fatally-injured female passenger as he shot at the other vehicles. The suspect shot the trooper in the shoulder and a battle ensued, with the suspect overpowering Andersson and bashing his head against the ground.
A driver traveling with his fiancée westbound on I-10 came upon the officer and after the suspect refused to stop the attack on Andersson, the man retrieved a 9mm handgun from his car, shot the suspect, and began rendering aid to the trooper. Penuelas-Escobar approached the two and the driver then shot the attacker dead. Andersson is expected to make a full recovery.
The Good Samaritan, who initially chose to remain unidentified, has no formal military or police training, but said he practices with his firearm several times per year. Follow up reports about the Samaritan identified him as 43-year-old Thomas Yoxall. He said he had a “visceral” reaction when he saw the scene and acted quickly. Turns out, based on other reports we found, Yoxall is a former felon who had his gun rights restored and that Penuelas-Escobar and the woman who died were believed to be meth users and drug dealers. We think Yoxall getting his gun rights back was a wise choice. Seems like this guy knows how to handle himself.
Arizona has a “defense of third person” law. An individual is justified in using physical force or deadly physical force against another to protect a third person if that individual is acting reasonably and he or she believes that threatening or using physical force or deadly physical force is necessary to protect the third person from the unlawful physical force or deadly physical force used or threatened by an attacker. Officials reiterated that Yoxall saved the trooper’s life. It’s a situation we hope we are never forced into, but it’s we why train to stay sharp.
Image from Arizona 12 News