Motorist ‘Miracle’ Saves Cop

For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways” (Psalm 91:11); Praise the LORD, you his angels, you mighty ones who do his bidding, who obey his word” (Psalm 103:20)

In the January 12th predawn desert, on a remote stretch of Arizona’s Interstate-10, a lone state trooper found himself in a life and death struggle. Horror worthy of Stephen King’s fiction, only real.

The officer was following up on a motorist’s bizarre report. The caller heard a loud bang. His vehicle was shot. He saw a “man in the roadway with a handgun.” Although his own vehicle had lost power, wisely, he did not stop. Instead, he immediately contacted authorities and kept going.

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Much remains unclear. The gun-totting menace was likely the reckless driver who rolled the vehicle he came in. Swerving tire marks indicate high speed. Tragically, his girlfriend, 23-year-old Vanessa Monique Lopez-Ruiz of Phoenix, was ejected during the crash. Other vehicular passersby described the man dragging the woman from the highway. (She later succumbed in the hospital from blunt force trauma injures.)

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Arriving at the scene, Officer Edward Andersson saw the man crouched over the woman to the roadway’s right shoulder. Exiting his cruiser, he set out road flares and approached to offer assistance. The belligerent man uttered something unintelligible to him in Spanish. Then, like the darkness before the dawn, things went rapidly from bad—to as bad as they could be. Suddenly, the suspect shot Andersson once with a 9mm pistol. The bullet pierced his upper right shoulder, exiting through his right torso. The trooper’s arm went numb: his firing hand rendered useless.

Ambushing a person sent to help! It’s inexcusable to vent obvious self-hatred upon an innocent in a blue uniform. The attacker’s barbaric behavior epitomizes the murderous go-to reaction of too many, as of late. Specifically, his actions eerily echo the toxicity of Barack Obama’s disrespectful anti-cop rhetoric and Black Lives Matter’s demonstrated anarchy. Indeed, the former lit the fuse by making blaming cops “chic” in 2009. In tandem, the other publicly targeted them, making their assassinations appear “normal.”

But, it turns out that nothing that happened that night was the norm. A physical fight ensued, with the maimed officer being straddled and beaten “in a savage way.” Then, out of nowhere, the divine intervention of a good Samaritan: an Arizona resident, Thomas Yoxall, 43. He and his fiancée pulled over and interceded. While she phoned police, he tried to ward off the unrelenting attacker. Finally, retrieving his own 9mm from a glove box, Yoxall ended the threat. Two bullets to the assailant’s body and a third, later, to his head. Yoxall also managed to flag down a second motorist, Brian Schober, 44: a former paramedic, who gave treatment and radioed for emergency evacuation helicopters. The cop’s life was spared. A miracle in the desert.

Later, still shaken by events, Mr. Yoxall said, “I firmly believe I was put there—by God.” That’s the right person, at the right place, at the right time. As this incident occurred a little more than a week before Trump’s inauguration, might it portend good tidings for our country’s future? Given Mr. Trump’s similarly unexpected and fortuitous ‘appearance on the scene of the car wreck that was Obama’s America‘—and his swift actions as president to rescue her—the synchronicity is noteworthy.

In any case, the aggressor was later identified as Leonard Pennelas-Escobar, 37. Interestingly, besides methamphetamine use, authorities could find no criminal history. Yet, ironically, this cop-attacking thug might have been a Mexican federal police officer in 2007. Given his appalling assault upon an American counterpart, clearly, Mr. Pennelas-Escobar was no respecter of life—or our laws. This was further proven by his illegal status.

Preventing similar tragedies is the reason for Trump’s U.S.-Mexico border wall. Whether it’s paid for in pesos or dollars, it’s a roadblock for criminal aliens that makes sense. Let the Pennelas-Escobars of the world stay where they originate. These border jumping troublemakers have no place in our most civilized, open, and tolerant society.

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