Los Angeles

LA County District Attorney Honors Courageous Citizens

A man who thwarted an attack on a boy in a Long Beach restaurant bathroom and a Los Angeles resident who was stabbed when he came to a teenager's aid were among four people honored Wednesday as courageous citizens by Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey.

Patrick Connell, 37, of Carlsbad, was lauded for intervening in March 2016 when he saw Herbert Laurence Harris pulling a 13-year-old boy as he gasped for air and extended his arms for help. He pushed Harris to the wall, took the teen back to his family's table and told them what had happened, according to the District Attorney's Office.

Harris, 48, pleaded no contest a year later to one felony count each of kidnapping and child abuse, and was sentenced to 22 years in state prison.

Also recognized were Michael Collier, 29, of Los Angeles, and Sylvester June Board III, 44, of Long Beach, who intervened after a young man and three teenagers approached a 17-year-old boy on the beach in Long Beach, asked where he was from and challenged him to a fight in April.

Collier, who was with a friend and the 17-year-old boy, was stabbed multiple times after intervening and telling the teens that neither he nor the teen belonged to a gang. Board -- who was in the water when the attack began -- returned to the shore and yelled that he was calling the police, then stayed with Collier until authorities arrived and helped them apprehend the assailants, according to the District Attorney's Office.

The adult defendant pleaded no contest to assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury and admitted hate crime and gang allegations, and was sentenced to nine years in prison. The three minors were convicted of assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury and were sentenced to six months in camp community placement.

Rebecca Madrigal, 48, of Gardena, was also honored. She intervened in a June 2015 attack on a woman who was punched in the head, ribs and back by a man who had been waiting for a parking space next to her as she secured her baby in a car seat in Gardena.

Madrigal confronted the man, then quickly dragged the injured woman out of the path of the car as he proceeded to park, according to the District Attorney's Office. The 72-year-old man was convicted of assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury and assault with a deadly weapon, and was sentenced to six years in prison.

"Our honorees had the courage to intervene despite frightening and dangerous circumstances," Lacey said. "They stepped into unknown peril to right a wrong, even if it meant compromising their own safety. Today, we honor and celebrate these heroic individuals."

The Courageous Citizen Awards are presented several times a year to people who have performed extraordinary acts of selflessness in assisting in criminal prosecutions, aiding victims, preventing crimes or capturing suspects.

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