Auburn, WA – Five young men were awarded the “Medal of Heroism” for helping to save the life of a King County deputy who was being attacked by a drunken suspect last month.
The incident began at approximately 1 a.m. on July 18, when King County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO) Deputy Elliott was flagged over by a citizen near East Valley Access Road, the KCSO said in a Facebook post several days after the attack.
Deputy Elliott had just wrapped up her shift and was traveling home in her marked patrol vehicle at the time.
The witness told her that an intoxicated male “had just caused a multiple vehicle collision,” the KCSO said.
As Deputy Elliott checked the crash victims for injuries, one of the drivers told her that the suspect responsible for causing the collision was trying to walk away from the scene.
“Deputy Elliott called out to the male to stop, but he kept trying to stumble away from her,” the KCSO said.
The deputy ran up along side him and grabbed onto him, telling him “he was not free to leave and was being detained,” at which point he immediately “turned around in a fighting stance with his arms up in the air,” according to the sheriff’s office.
Deputy Elliott was able to wrestle the drunken suspect to the ground during the ensuing struggle and called for help on her radio.
But a moment later, the suspect managed to wrap his arms around her neck, the KCSO said.
“[He] put her in a headlock and began squeezing,” according to the sheriff’s office.
Deputy Elliott was able to maintain consciousness as she fought for her life, but she could not break free of the suspect’s hold on her neck.
That’s when she heard a group of several men yelling for her attacker to “get off of her,” the KCSO said.
The five strangers jumped into the melee and forced the suspect to release his hold on the deputy.
Once she was free, the men “held the suspect’s shoulders and legs to the ground to allow Deputy Elliott to handcuff the man,” according to the KCSO.
Deputy Elliott suffered bruising and scrapes as a result of the assault, but was not severely injured.
Her attacker was arrested on charges of driving under the influence and felony assault of an officer.
He also had outstanding warrants for an additional driving under the influence offense, as well as driving while suspended and failing to have an ignition interlock.
The KCSO praised the five individuals who heroically raced to Deputy Elliott’s aid.
“We cannot thank these five young men enough for coming to Deputy Elliott’s rescue. They quite possibly saved her life,” the sheriff’s office said. “Moms and Dads, you should be proud of these kids!”
The department later identified the Good Samaritans as Darrell Swilley, 16, Isaiha Sansaver, 17, Tyran Powell, 18, Kai Tavares, 18, and Dominic Sansaver, 19.
On Monday night, King County Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht and Auburn Police Chief Daniel O’Neil presented them with the KCSO “Medal of Heroism” award, the sheriff’s office said in a Facebook post.
The award was established by Sheriff Johanknecht “to honor community members who do extraordinary things,” the department said.
The award has only been presented on one other occasion prior to Monday night.
Sheriff Johanknecht told the heroic teens that she and Deputy Elliott both believe that the deputy could have been killed in the horrific attack, KOMO reported.
“On her behalf, I have to thank you,” the sheriff said. “She believes, and I believe had you not been there for her on this day, she might not be alive.”
“We can’t thank these fine men enough,” the KCSO said. “They are true heroes.”