Fredericksburg, VA – Fredericksburg police officials are crediting the quick actions of two good Samaritans who intervened to help an officer who was being attacked by a suspect on Wednesday.
Fredericksburg Police Spokeswoman Sarah Morris said the incident began at about 6:30 a.m. on July 21 when an officer responded to the Walmart Parking lot in Central Park for a report of a suspicious person going through vehicles, The Free Lance-Star reported.
Morris said that the officer identified the suspect when he arrived on the scene in the 800-block of Carl D. Silver Parkway and found several stolen items in his possession.
She said the officer went to detain the man, but the suspect tried to walk away, The Free Lance-Star reported.
Then the suspect turned around and hit the officer, the police spokeswoman said.
Morris said the suspect knocked the officer to the ground and punched him multiple times in the head, The Free Lance-Star reported.
That was when the two bystanders who saw what happened and moved to intervene and help the police officer.
The Fredericksburg Police Department said in a Facebook post that the good Samaritans pulled the suspect off the officer and then the man was taken into custody.
The officer’s attacker was identified as 31-year-old Joshua Duggins, The Free Lance-Star reported.
Police said the wounded officer was transported to a nearby hospital and treated for head injuries.
The officer, a two-year veteran of the police force, was released from the hospital on Thursday.
Duggins was charged with assault on law enforcement and malicious wounding, The Free Lance-Star reported.
He was booked into the Rappahannock Regional Jail where he was held without bond, according to the police department’s Facebook post.
Duggins was arraigned in Fredericksburg General District Court on July 22, The Free Lance-Star reported.
He has a preliminary hearing scheduled for Aug. 17.
Police officials heaped praise on the good Samaritans who stepped up to help the officer who was being attacked.
“If the two individuals watching nearby had not selflessly taken it upon themselves to assist the officer during the attack, the injuries he sustained could have been much more severe,” Fredericksburg Police Chief Brian Layton said in the Facebook post.
“I can’t thank them enough for bravely putting themselves in danger,” Chief Layton continued. “The courage seen by the officer and individuals show we are stronger when we work together.”
Fredericksburg police said this was the third “considerable assault” on an officer on their police force in the past 12 weeks.
A Fredericksburg officer was punched in the face on April 24 as he tried to escort someone to the hospital, according to the police department’s Facebook post.
Another officer had his nose broken on June 11 after he served a trespassing notice.