An armed citizen has, once again, come to the aid of a police officer. Derek Meyer was driving when he pulled up on a fight. A police officer was being assaulted by a man he’d stopped. Meyer, who was carrying a concealed handgun, pulled over and intervened. Authorities now say his actions may have saved the lives of the police officer.
The incident took place in Springville, Utah, about 50 miles outside of Salt Lake City. Meyer had been driving on Main Street when he witnessed the fight Friday afternoon.
“An officer on patrol saw a pair of feet dangling out of a bin for Tabitha’s Way, a food pantry that hosts a clothing recycling program,” The Washington Post reports. “The feet belonged to a man police identified as Paul Douglas Anderson, who climbed out of the bin but refused to take his hands out of his pockets.”
The responding officer convinced Anderson to show his hands, but when he did, the man came out swinging. Anderson struck the officer in the face, fracturing the officer’s eye socket.
Meyer pulled up as the two were fighting.
“I carry a gun to protect me and those around me, but primarily I carry a gun to protect my family first and foremost,” Meyer told KSTU. Police said Meyer had a permit to carry a concealed weapon. “Outside of that, if I were to use my gun to protect anyone, it would be law enforcement or military personnel.”
Meyer swung around and stopped his car. He pulled his gun and ordered Anderson to stop assaulting the man. Anderson stopped beating the cop and ran.
A search began as the police officer received medical care. Anderson was found hiding not far from where the assault took place and was arrested.
He has been charged with assault on a police officer, resisting arrest, theft, burglary and failure to stop at the command of a police officer.
The police in Springville are celebrating Meyer’s actions. They credit Meyer with stopping the attack. He prevented further injury to the officer and kept the officer from having to use deadly force on Anderson.
“Had he not been in the right place at the right time, who knows what would have happened?” Springville Police Cpl. Cory Waters said. “But he definitely stopped the attack from continuing and becoming much worse. He might have even saved either one of their lives. It could have gone really bad, even for the suspect.”