The Star-News


Tackling gratitude

Sat, Aug 31 2013 12:00 PM Posted By: Carlos R. Davalos

Dozens upon dozens of press releases and news advisories cross my desk and computer screen every week. Most of them get a cursory glance, a quick scan to determine if I make a story out of what’s being pitched. Few releases are read all the way through. Fewer are read twice. Even ones from the police.

But something about one from Chula Vista cops this week compelled me to read it through a few times. And to share, in part, with readers.

The Chula Vista Police Department received a 911 call of a male beating a female (on) Telegraph Canyon Road... The reporting party stated the victim and the suspect were in an apartment and the male could be seen beating the female. (They) also stated that the suspect threatened to shoot the reporting party’s sister but no gun was seen.
...Sgt. Kelly Harris arrived ... a witness told ... Harris that he had last seen the suspect dragging the victim by the hair (and) he thought the suspect took the victim to the bushes on a hill behind the complex.
...Harris heard a scream and checked behind the garages and saw the suspect straddling the victim ...(he) could see that the victim was on her back, halfway in the bushes with her feet in the culvert. The suspect was straddling the victim with his hands around her throat and was leaning in closely while yelling at her. It was clear to Harris that the suspect was violently choking the victim as she pulled at his jacket with her hands.
Harris started running toward the suspect and victim, while identifying himself as a police officer and ordering the suspect to get off the victim... Harris pointed his pistol at the suspect as he ran toward them, fearing the suspect was armed. The suspect ignored him and continued to choke the victim. Still alone, Harris holstered his weapon and tackled the suspect from the side, knocking him off the victim. The suspect landed on his chest and Harris held him there with his body weight until a second officer ... Jonathan Deering, arrived to help him handcuff the suspect.

I’m not a police groupie. And I’m far from a law-and-order badge-kissing hack. They get the same benefit of the doubt as anyone else. Maybe a little less.

But this story grabbed me. And it knocked me over as if...well, as if a cop had tackled me to the ground.

I don’t yet know all the details, but I suspect Harris did not know the victim. And yes, Harris and Deering and all the other cops on the force are trained for   situations like these and they carry guns and they are just doing their jobs.
But that doesn’t change the fact that Harris rushed to help someone whose life was in danger. Someone who, like Harris, probably hadn’t imagined their day would turn out that way.

I am thankful for people like Harris.


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