Off duty officer stops assault to protect citizens

Off duty officer stops assault to protect citizens

LAWTON, OK (KSWO) -An off-duty officer went above and beyond to help put an end to an assault over the weekend at the Walmart on Sheridan Road.

A man told police that two cars pulled up in the parking lot, and blocking his car in the parking spot. He said the victim was putting groceries into the back of his car when three people got out and started punching and kicking him. Luckily for him, a Comanche Nation officer happened to see the fight, and ran over to help. He drew his service weapon and ordered everyone to get on the ground until Lawton police got there.

"I would do it a 100 times over if I had to and If I see someone else in trouble, you can guarantee it, I'll be right there to help them," John Lawrence, Comanche Nation Police Officer.

Officer John Lawrence says he was just running a quick errand with his wife, son and daughter and on the way out unexpectedly witnessed a fight. Oddly enough, he says this isn't the first time this has happened at the same Walmart. He once broke up a small fight after someone attempted to steal from the store. He says stepping up to put an end to it, just came natural.

"It's just pure instincts. No one deserves to be treated that way. No one deserves to be hurt Whether I'm in law enforcement or not, I think any good citizen would do the same thing and any law enforcement officer would do the same thing. It's our obligation as a human being, as a person," said Lawrence.

A witness close by was able to capture some of the incident on video. He says he's thankful the officer was at the right place at the right time.

"I was just thinking holy cow this is going on right in front of me. I was just shocked. I was completely shocked that I was in Walmart and I was around for something like that to happen. I was a little scared that I didn't know what was going to happen, that guns were drawn," said Patrick Carney, a witness.

Carney says he's thankful there are good Samaritans and officers who will step up and protect this community whether they're on duty or not.

"I just want to say thank you to that officer for doing his job, and I mean, he did a great job. He defused the situation and he showed his badge to let everyone know he was a police officer and not just some random guy with a gun," said Carney.

Lawrence says the victim's wife and young child were close by when he was attacked. He says knowing he might have helped save that man's life is touching.

"I mean, it makes me feel good. I'm glad that he's able to go home to his newborn son and and take his wife and newborn son home and spend the rest of the day with them, rather than being in the hospital or worse. He didn't deserve to have that happen to him and his child didn't deserve to have that happen in front of him," said Lawrence.

Officer Lawrence says he hopes other Samaritans will learn from this and not be afraid to put an end to incidents where people might be in danger. He also says if you do carry a firearm, to make sure you do have a conceal and carry permit.

Two of the suspects were arrested for disorderly conduct. The third person involved, ran away from the scene.

Copyright 2016 KSWO. All rights reserved.