SACRAMENTO -- Sacramento police are thankful to Sergio De La Cruz for handing a taser pistol back to an officer who was wrestling with a suspected drug dealer during an arrest attempt on Warner Street just off Broadway.
Police say the episode demonstrates how dangerous it is for officers who are working by themselves to confront suspects who are desperate or who may possess martial arts or other fighting skills.
"They may want to fight for their lives, try to hurt you, or run away, you just never know," said Sgt. Matt Armstrong.
Armstrong lost contact with his officer for several minutes during the struggle and rolled numerous units to his aid.
The officer pulled his taser from his holster, but the suspect knocked it away while only one of his hands were cuffed.
Armstrong says officers have to make split second decisions that often affect their safety.
"When you're wrestling with somebody on the ground and you are forced to bring out a less-than-lethal option like a taser, that means they can now grab it," said Armstrong.
De La Cruz was walking his dog and didn't think twice about what to do when he saw that the officer's taser was knocked away by the suspect.
"I picked it up and handed it to the officer...he then used the taser on him," said De La Cruz.
He said he got thanks from some of his neighbors as well as the police, but he also gets a lot of criticism from some neighbors for helping.
"My thing is officers do what they do ... they got to help people and stop crime," said De La Cruz.
The suspect, Aaron Winsley, was arrested for possession of drugs, probation violation, resisting arrest and taking a weapon from a police officer.