One brave Turlocker prevented last month's Donnelly Park throat slashing from becoming certain murder, Turlock police said Tuesday.
The City of Turlock honored Alfredo Perez for his heroic actions, interrupting a crime-in-progress and saving a woman's life.
“I have no doubt that had Mr. Perez not taken the action that he did that night, that young lady would have been murdered,” Turlock Police Chief Rob Jackson said.
According to Jackson, Perez was riding his bike near Donnelly Park at 5:45 p.m. on July 29, when he heard a woman screaming for help. Perez ran up to find a woman laying on the ground with a “severe laceration to her throat,” while a man, Daniel Lee Rigney, 52, kneeled over her, holding a knife to her throat.
The woman, 50, was previously confirmed by Turlock police to be Rigney's ex-girlfriend. The two had met in Donnelly Park to exchange personal belongings.
Upon seeing the scene Perez kicked Rigney away from the woman, causing Rigney to drop the knife and crawl away. Perez then threw the knife out of reach and tackled Rigney, preventing him from reaching a nearby vehicle.
Perez proceeded to hold Rigney down until Turlock police officers arrived minutes later.
Jackson commended Perez's actions as quick, decisive, and lifesaving.
“Not a lot of people would do what Mr. Perez did that night, and we're thankful for it,” Jackson said.
Rigney pleaded no contest to attempted murder charges on Thursday, with an enhancement for causing great bodily injury. He also pleaded no contest to a charge of making criminal threats, but a charge of inflicting corporal injury on a spouse was dropped as part of the plea.
Rigney was sentenced to eight years and eight months in prison for the ordeal.
Few people would have thrown themselves into a dangerous situation the way Perez did, Jackson said. But when asked why he intervened, Perez's response was simple.
“His comment to me was, 'Why wouldn't I?'” Jackson said.