Patriots lineman Justin Herron helps prevent sexual assault in Arizona park

TEMPE, Ariz. — Two men, including New England Patriots offensive lineman Justin Herron, intervened to stop an attempted sexual assault Saturday at an Arizona park, authorities said.

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Herron, 25, and Murry Rogers, of Phoenix, were presented with “Outstanding Service” awards by the Tempe Police Department, KNXV reported. The two men were praised for stopping Kevin Caballero, 30, who was charged with kidnapping and attempt to commit sexual assault, The Arizona Republic reported. His bail was set at $500,000.

According to police, at about 11 a.m. on Saturday, a 71-year-old woman was walking through Kiwanis Park in Tempe when she was assaulted.

Herron said he was working out at the park as part of his offseason training in Arizona when he heard screams, the Republic reported. Herron said he saw Caballero threatening to attack the woman, the newspaper reported.

“At that moment, I was in shock,” Herron told the Republic. “It was 11 a.m., middle of the day, in a very open field and the fact that it happened there at that time was just very shocking. I wish I could tell you what I was thinking, but I could just tell someone needed help. All I could do was rush myself over there to make sure I could help the victim and I could comfort her and be the best person I can be.

“I’m a football player, I’m kind of big (6-foot-4, 308 pounds). I try not to be too aggressive with people knowing I could potentially hurt somebody,” Herron added. “I do have a loud voice. I yelled, told him to get off of her and then yanked him off and I told him to sit down and I told him to wait until the cops come.”

Rogers, who also ran to the scene, said both men felt an obligation to help out.

“I’m almost twice as old as Justin,” Rogers told the Republic. “So I did my best to run to the situation, and help however I could. We were yelling at him to get off. Once the attacker got off the victim, we looked at each other and said, ‘We have to make sure he doesn’t go anywhere.’ A lot of effort was spent on making sure he sat down, didn’t move and would wait for the police.”

Police took Caballero into custody and tended to the woman’s minor injuries, KNXV reported.

Both men were honored at a news conference on Wednesday.

“If not for the swift actions of Mr. Justin Herron and Mr. Murry Rogers, this vicious attack could’ve been much worse,” Tempe police Detective Natalie Barela said.

“I just want to wish her all the best, we love her, we’re there for her,” Rogers said during the news conference. “We’re always praying and thinking about her and I just wish her the best.”

Herron, who played 12 games for the Patriots in 2020 after being drafted out of Wake Forest, expressed concern about the woman when he spoke during Wednesday’s news conference.

“There are so many heroes that go unnoticed on a daily basis,” Herron said. “I was just doing what anyone else would do in that moment.”