MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) - Minneapolis police officers honored a man, who is being credited with saving a woman from an attempted rape, as part of the department’s awards ceremony.
Receiving the Citizen’s Award of Commendation is an honor with so much meaning for Darryl Draper Jr., even as he acknowledges it was simply pure instinct that transformed him into a hero.
“It’s spectacular,” said Draper. “I know it’s a huge deal, but didn’t expect an award for it. It was from the heart. I would expect someone else to help my sister and my cousin.”
Draper, a student at Minneapolis Community and Technical College was sitting by the women’s bathroom last March when he heard a woman screaming for help that she was being raped.
“To be honest, I didn’t even think - I just heard her,” said Draper. “I knew she needed help. If I didn’t help, no one else would have because no one else was around.”
Draper tore into that restroom, not knowing the dangers either he or the woman faced. It turned out a mentally ill suspect had the female student pinned in a stall.
Draper climbed up over the divider to engage the man, throwing punches and restraining him as more help arrived and the woman was able to escape.
“It’s fantastic,” said Mamie Lightford, Draper’s mother. “I have a man here. I have a man here.”
Lightford, who is also a retired Chicago police sergeant, told Fox 9 there’s no way she would have missed Monday’s police department award ceremony.
“You can’t imagine, I’m so proud,” said Lightford. “I know him. Not a surprise. I’m proud. I love the award, but I know him. This is who he is and what he does. He’s always helped people. This is fantastic.”
Draper says he had never met the woman he helped in the college bathroom, he just knew he had to react quickly when he heard her screaming.
MCTC officials told Fox 9 the woman is doing well nine months after the incident.