Patriots Lineman Stops Attempted Sexual Assault, Called a Hero by Police

New England Patriots reserve offensive tackle Justin Herron is being hailed a hero by police for helping stop an attempted sexual assault over the weekend. The Tempe (Arizona) Police Department said a 30-year-old suspect was seen pushing a 71-year-old retired teacher to the ground. Herron and a second man, Murry Rogers, stepped in stopped the assault.

"We are here to honor two good Samaritans that intervened during this vicious attack and detained the suspect until police could arrive and make sure that he was taken into custody," Det. Natalie Barela of the Tempe Police Department said at a news conference per ESPN. "If not for the swift actions of Mr. Justin Herron and Mr. Murry Rogers, this vicious attack could've been much worse." Barela also said the victim experienced "a significant amount of trauma, but she is working through some of these things and physically doing OK."

Herron and Rodgers were presented with an "Outstanding Citizen" certificate by police during the new conference. Herron told reporters he saw what was happening and simply reacted. "You see it in movies and TV all the time, but you never think it's going to happen in real life until it does. In that moment, I was in shock," Herron said. "It was 11, in the middle of the day, not one cloud in the sky and in a very open field. The fact it happened there, at that time, was very shocking. In the moment, I wish I could tell you what I was thinking. I just knew someone just needed help. All I could do was just rush myself over there to make sure I could help the victim and make sure I could comfort her and be the best person I can be."

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Herron was drafted by the Patriots in the sixth round in 2020. He played in 12 games last season with six starts. He missed some time due to an ankle injury and was placed on injured reserve on Oct. 31. Herron played college football at Wake Forest where he was named team captain and earned All-ACC honors in 2019.