APD recognizes men who saved woman from attacker

“Heroes when they didn't have to be.” That's how the Austin police chief described two men who saved a woman from the grips of a man with terrible intentions.           

"These were not individuals who signed up for careers that we have,” said APD Chief Brian Manley.

On Wednesday Austin Police Chief Brian Manley recognized two ordinary men who took extraordinary action to save a woman who was being attacked.

"Without concern for their own personal safety, without regard for whatever could've happened to them, they realized something bad was about to happen,” said Manley.

On January 9th, police say a woman was walking along this sidewalk on Airport Boulevard in East Austin when a man approached her asking for her phone number.

"I don't know if it was a 6th sense, but something told her she didn't want to interact with this individual,” said Manley.

Manley says the woman threatened to call 9-1-1, but the man wouldn't back off.

"She maced him a couple of times in attempt to get away, at which point he grabbed her, drug her into the woods and started choking her,” said Manley.

Alex Cantu and Israel Vallado, who were working inside a pawn shop, happened to see what was going on. They left the store and ran straight for the attacker.

"When we grabbed him he was just trying to run away and fight back. We grabbed his arms, we grabbed his legs and put him to the ground until the cops got there,” said Alex Cantu.

"It happened so fast we didn't have time to think about anything else just had to do what we had to do,” said Israel Vallado.

Thankfully, they didn't second guess themselves as police say the suspect--later identified as Javier Cervantes-- told them he planned to rape the woman. He was charged with aggravated kidnapping and booked into jail.

"I hope that you realize what you did forever changed that young lady's life,” said Manley.

Manley recognized the men’s' efforts by giving them the Civilian Distinguished Service Citation.

The victim in the case continues her daily walk to work by the pawn shop now with the reassurance she has a couple friends keeping watch to make sure she's safe.

"I've talked to her while she was walking. I give her a thumbs up and she gives me a thumbs up. That's all I need to see,” said Cantu.

A third man also helped, but he was not able to be at the ceremony. Cervantes remains in the Travis County Jail on a $75-thousand dollar bond.

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