Local News

Bystander credited for helping Raleigh police officer in tussle

Posted July 31, 2013 12:16 p.m. EDT
Updated July 31, 2013 7:26 p.m. EDT

— An HVAC contractor is being credited for his bravery in helping subdue a man who allegedly attacked a Raleigh police officer Wednesday morning at an apartment complex in the western part of the city.

Officer D.A. Halpin was responding to a call at Driftwood Manor Apartments on Schaub Drive around 11 a.m. after neighbors reported a man throwing rocks after becoming upset by neighbors installing a washer and dryer.

The man, whom police identified as A Puih, 50, resisted the officer's efforts to calm him, hitting and scratching the officer, authorities said.

"The officer was struck, maybe, three or four times, give or take, before they actually got a chance to subdue him," said Jackson Sanders, who witnessed the attack. "He was kicking and flailing. He did not want to go. I don't think he knew where he was."

Shane St. Pierre, who was working nearby, jumped in to aid Halpin and helped him hold Puih until more police and emergency personnel reached the scene.

"The police officer threw him down on the ground, but the guy was evidently pretty strong," St. Pierre said. "It was a good little tussle, so I ran over there and helped take him down, grabbed his arm and held him down."

St. Pierre's manager, David Dombrowksi, says his actions were nothing short of heroic.

"We are extremely proud of Shane," he said. "Here is a gentleman who saw a need, saw an officer in need – not just the general public – and went out of his way, and, in my mind, put himself in danger. Anytime somebody needs help, he's going to go above and beyond the call of duty and go out there and help people. That's just what his nature is."

Raleigh police Capt. Andy Murr said the department never wants to encourage a citizen to put him or herself in danger but that the department is appreciative for St. Pierre's actions.

"We are very appreciative today of the bravery and the courage the citizen used to get involved and to help the officer before other officers were able to arrive," Murr said.

Halpin, who has been with the police department since November 2011, suffered cuts and bruises but was checked by EMTs and had no serious injuries.

Puih was not injured but was taken to Rex Hospital for an evaluation, police said.

Charges of misdemeanor assault, resisting an officer and felony assault on a law enforcement officer were pending Wednesday afternoon.