Intense video shows the moment a group of bystanders jumped in to save a California Highway Patrol officer who was shot in the thigh while investigating a single-car wreck on Interstate 8 in Mission Valley on Wednesday.
According to ABC 10, driver Yuhao Du, 25, crashed his car while driving eastbound on I-8 near the I-805 overpass. After Officer Tony Pacheco arrived on scene, Du allegedly attempted to grab the officer’s gun. A struggle ensued, and one round was discharged, striking Pacheco in the leg.
A group of good Samaritans stopped to provide medical assistance to the wounded cop and restrain the suspect at knifepoint until more police arrived.
Travis Almond was among those who witnessed the incident. He told KUSI, “The cop fell to the ground because he had been bleeding for some time. But the cop was coherent enough, as I stepped out of the car, to say ‘tourniquet.’ So, that just signaled to me to grab my sweatshirt out of the back of the car and tie it around his leg.”
A nurse pulled up shortly after to help stabilize Pacheco while others provided emotional support.
“Two other gentlemen were holding his hand, keeping him calm,” Almond continued. “One of them was telling him, ‘Do you believe in God?’ And was there spiritually for him, so that was cool.”
According to Almond, the wounded officer grabbed his phone and called his wife, saying, “Babe, I’ve been shot. I want you to know I love you and I’m taken care of.”
Almond said the officer “helped lead the saving of his own life because he was calm enough to tell everybody what to do.”
“It’s amazing also to see how many other people who were involved that stepped in to help out. It took everybody to make sure everything was ok. It wasn’t any one person,” Almond added. “Somebody trying to do good in our community was saved by the community.”
Meanwhile, Almond said more witnesses had Du “pinched against the median.”
“I put my hand on [Du’s] chest and looked him in the eyes and told him to calm down. And for whatever reason, that helped,” he said.
Pacheco was transported to Scripps Mercy Hospital in stable condition. A friend of the Pacheco family started an online fundraiser to help the officer, his pregnant wife, and their two young children deal with the financial burden of the incident. As of Friday morning, the campaign has raised just over $24,000.
“I am extremely grateful for the members of the public who put themselves in harm’s way to help our officer after he was shot in the leg,” said CHP Chief Scott Parker. “This incident could have ended in a greater tragedy had those individuals not intervened. CHP officers put themselves at risk every day they come to work. Our thoughts and prayers are with the officer and his family as he recovers from his injuries.”
Du is facing multiple charges, including attempted murder of a peace officer. The California Highway Patrol’s Border Division Investigative Services Unit is investigating the incident.