Duluth, GA – Two Good Samaritans were honored by the Gwinnett County Police Department (GCPD) for their heroic actions last week after they jumped in to help a police officer who was struggling with an armed suspect.
GCPD Chief J.D. McClure recently held a special ceremony at police headquarters to recognize the lifesaving actions of Otto Ortiz and his son, Anderson Ortiz, the department said in a press release on Oct. 26.
“Recently, Otto Ortiz and his son, Anderson, came to the aid of one of our officers while he was alone, fighting to arrest an armed man suspected of robbing a nearby convenience store,” the GCPD said. “Last week, Chief J.D. McClure recognized the Ortiz family at a ceremony at police headquarters.”
The incident began on July 25, when the GCPD received a report of an armed robbery at a gas station on Satellite Boulevard, WXIA reported.
Officers responded to the scene and located a clerk who had been violently assaulted.
Investigators were able to interview the victim and also reviewed security footage in order to get a description of the suspect, WSB reported.
They immediately began canvassing the area, WXIA reported.
At approximately 3 a.m., a GCPD officer identified only as Officer Anderson spotted a man matching the description of the armed robbery suspect just off of Satellite Boulevard, according to WSB.
The suspect was later identified as 38-year-old Derrick Sutton.
When Officer Anderson attempted to take Sutton into custody, the suspect suddenly attacked him, according to police.
Otto and Anderson Ortiz said they were inside their home when their dog alerted them to a commotion outside, WXIA reported.
They said they looked outside and spotted a police officer fighting with someone.
They also noticed that the officer lost his radio during the brawl and that he wasn’t able to call for backup, WSB reported.
Otto and Anderson Ortiz said they immediately ran outside to help the struggling officer.
They said they saw the suspect drop a bag filled with money and immediately rushed him – having no idea he was armed, WSB reported.
“As soon as I heard the officer tell them to be careful, that he was armed, my priority was, ‘I need to save the officer and I need to save my son,’” Otto Ortiz said with the aid of a translator.
The elder Ortiz was able to grab ahold of Sutton’s gun and disarmed him, then threw the gun out of the suspect’s reach, WSB reported.
He and his son then helped restrain the combative suspect while they waited for additional officers to arrive at the scene.
Meanwhile, Otto Ortiz’s wife, Glenda Guerra, ran down the street to flag police down as they came down the road, WXIA reported.
Sutton has been charged with multiple felony counts, including kidnapping, felon in possession of a firearm, armed robbery, aggravated assault, possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony, and obstruction of law enforcement, according to WSB.
The GCPD said the family’s swift actions and willingness to help Officer Anderson likely saved his life.
“Without their help, the outcome of the incident may have been very different,” the police department noted, according to WSB.
Otto and Anderson Ortiz were both presented with awards by the GCPD in recognition of their bravery.
“I urge other citizens, and citizens as a whole, to step up and work together,” Otto Ortiz told WSB, adding that he believes he and his son did the same thing that anyone else would have done.
Otto Ortiz, who came to the United States from Guatemala 18 years ago, said he is also thankful for everything the U.S. has done for his family, WSB reported.