LOS ANGELES – Two Lancaster men who came to the aid of a 77-year-old woman moments after she was battered and robbed by a gang member were honored with Courageous Citizen Awards recently.
Samuel Nunez, 24, and Kem Gaskin, 44, were two of four Good Samaritans honored by Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey at a Courageous Citizen Awards luncheon hosted by the Rotary Club of Los Angeles.
“These otherwise ordinary people have taken extraordinary steps to assist others when they were most vulnerable,” Lacey said in a press release. “… They are vital to the pursuit of justice and our community is a safer place because of them.”
Nunez and Gaskin were honored for their heroic actions following an incident on Sept. 27, 2011 in the parking lot of a Lancaster store.
According to the district attorney’s office, a violent career criminal robbed a 77-year-old woman of her purse and cell phone after pushing her to the ground.
Nunez was first on the scene and saw the thief running away with the victim’s purse. He jumped in front of the suspect and tackled him to the ground, then Nunez fought off the suspect as the suspect stabbed him in the head.
When Gaskin, a church pastor, witnessed the attack on Nunez, he intervened and managed to stop the attack before the suspect fled. Gaskin chased the suspect for a short distance before losing sight of him, and then he directed authorities to the suspect’s approximate location, leading to his capture.
The thief ultimately pleaded guilty to attempted murder, robbery and assault with a screwdriver, according to the district attorney’s office. He was sentenced to 35 years to life in prison.
The other two Good Samaritans honored were Nida Tapel of Los Angeles and Henry Hernandez of Whittier.
Tapel, a 52-year-old home-care provider, was honored for enduring a painful pepper spray attack in an effort to prevent the kidnapping of her frail, 95-year-old client on Dec.19, 2011.
Hernandez, 44, was honored for pulling a badly injured woman out of a burning car after the woman’s angry ex-boyfriend ran her car off the road.
The Courageous Citizen Awards luncheon was held on Friday (April 12) at The City Club in Los Angeles.
(Information via press release from the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office.)