Fridley man saves police officer pinned under suspect

A man from Fridley, Minn. is being called a hero after helping a Coon Rapids police officer on Thursday. A suspect pinned the officer on the ground yesterday and was trying to reach for her gun.

Jeremy Wachsmuth was on his way from his daughter's school when he spotted the officer wrestling beneath a man.

"She was in a position that I don't think a body builder could get out of," Wachsmuth said. "The way she was laying was a very vulnerable position."

Coon Rapids police officer Briana Johnson was pinned with her back on the grass and her head was dangling over the curb.

"She was trying to hold her gun while he was trying to grab it," Wachsmuth said. "So I slammed on the brakes, ran over there tackled him."

Coon Rapids Capt. Jon Urqhart said it started when Johnson responded to a medical call and found Stephen Pearson, fresh out of prison, sleeping on the roadside and smelling like alcohol.

When Officer Johnson tried to wake him he apparently lunged at her. According to the criminal complaint, he said "I hate the cops, I will kill you."

A reserve officer in Johnson's passenger seat called for backup at the same time Wachsmuth darted across four lanes of traffic, without any police training, and tackled Pearson until handcuffs could be put on him.

"I think he assisted the situation correctly and did what a citizen should have done," Urghart said. "Not that we advocate people doing this all the time, but he made the correct decision."

"They do a lot for us," Wachsmuth said. "They risk their lives, they leave their family. As I said on my Facebook page, she's the hero... not me."

Pearson is still on probation from being released from prison just two weeks ago. Now, he's facing new charges of attempting to disarm a police officer, fourth-degree assault, and making a terroristic threat.