LANCASTER – Three Antelope Valley residents were recognized by Sheriff Jim McDonnell during the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s annual Valor Awards ceremony.
Elizabeth Ann Herring of Palmdale and Lancaster residents Ricardo Valenzuela and Cory Mulvey were each honored with a Humanitarian Medal Tuesday for helping a sheriff’s deputy subdue a violent suspect on April 17, 2015.
The trio ran to the aid of a deputy who was overpowered by a suspect in the parking of a Walmart Supercenter, located at 44665 Valley Central Way in Lancaster.
Before the suspect attacked the deputy, Herring was taking her lunch break in her car. According to the sheriff’s report, Herring “heard loud yelling and saw a truck drift through the parking lot. She [then] saw a woman fall out of the truck and land on the pavement.”
Herring told The AV Times she saw a man and woman fighting in the truck, and then the man pushed the woman out of the vehicle.
“I saw it all unfold in front of me,” she said, explaining that two sheriff’s deputies were just outside the Walmart.
“One of the deputies came around and asked the guy to get out of the car,” Herring said. “And as soon as [the suspect] got out of the car, he put the deputy into a headlock and took him down to the floor.”
Herring said she immediately reacted when she saw the suspect and the deputy fall to the ground.
“I hopped out of the car… I tried to help get the violent suspect off the deputy,” she said. “I tried to pull him off the deputy.”
At that moment, Mulvey and Valenzuela ran from across the parking lot to help, “and they all began wrestling around on the floor until more [patrol] units came to help,” Herring said.
According to the sheriff’s report, Mulvey “ran and pushed the suspect off the deputy. He [then] grabbed the suspect and turned him onto his stomach.”
Valenzuela helped Mulvey “get the suspect off the deputy by holding his neck so the deputy could restrain the suspect,” sheriff’s officials reported, noting that both Mulvey and Valenzuela held the man’s arms as the deputy handcuffed the suspect.
When asked if she thought she might get hurt pulling a violent suspect off a law enforcement officer, Herring said the idea crossed her mind.
“I thought about it, but I didn’t hesitate. I just got out of my car and decided to help,” Herring said. “Instead of pulling out my video camera and recording it, I decided to help.”
Tabitha, Elizabeth Herring’s mother, said she was proud to see her daughter receive recognition for bravely coming to a deputy’s aid.
“Not too many people would step in like that,” Tabitha Herring said.
At Tuesday’s Valor Awards ceremony, Sheriff Jim McDonnell also presented medals to 25 members of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Among the honorees was Lieutenant Joseph F. Fender of the Lancaster Sheriff’s Station. Fender was recognized for an incident that occurred Oct. 29, 2006. After responding to an assault with a deadly weapon call, Fender “was shot and wounded in the chest by a suspect during a fierce struggle,” sheriff’s officials reported. “Despite being injured, he continued to engage in the battle with the suspect, during which the suspect was fatally shot.”