|ARS/Rescue Rooter heating and air technician, Shane St. Pierre, 29, is credited with helping subdue a combative man in late July while on the job at a Raleigh, N.C., apartment complex.|
“I didn’t even think about it — I just ran over there and jumped in to help,” said mechanic, Shane St. Pierre, recounting how he assisted a struggling and injured Raleigh police officer in subduing a man who had assaulted several individuals.
“I was jogging over there to see what was happening, but when I saw that the officer couldn’t get a good grab on the guy, I ran over to the officer and tried to help.”
St. Pierre and the officer eventually managed to pin and cuff the man, who may now face misdemeanor and felony assault charges.
“Some people said I was a fool for doing it,” said St. Pierre, his laid-back Southern drawl punctuated with a chuckle. “But I guess that’s their opinion, and I respect that.”
Better Late than Never
Though St. Pierre helped end the potentially deadly brawl, he said he nearly missed the altercation altogether, as he sat in his service van with a coworker waiting for some equipment to be delivered.
“It was probably 11 a.m. or so, and we were facing away from everyone, unaware of what was going on around us,” St. Pierre recalled. When the delivery truck arrived, he and his partner got out of their vehicle, and that’s when they noticed something wasn’t quite right.
“I’m standing there and the delivery guy runs out of the office of the complex and says, ‘There’s a crazy man who tried to hit me in the head with a brick and he’s chasing people out of the building,’” St. Pierre recalled. “I didn’t want to get involved in a fight between just two people, and by the time the cop pulled up, I said, ‘I don’t have a clue what’s going on.’”
That’s when a plumber who had been working in the complex ran out of the building, also claiming a crazy man was throwing rocks and bricks at him and others while yelling at them to leave, St. Pierre said.
“So the cop takes off and runs about 60 yards up on the hill, and I’m looking to see what’s going on. I saw another rock fly, and at that point, when the officer approached the guy, he swung and hit the officer, some say three or four times.”
St. Pierre said he watched as the officer tried to pin the man down while the man kicked, scratched, and bit the officer. Soon, he noticed the officer was losing ground.
“At that point, I took off running and jumped right in.”
St. Pierre said he grabbed the man’s arm, which was tangled in the cord to the officer’s shoulder radio, so they could handcuff the man.
“We wrestled him for maybe a minute or two, and at that point, I stood up and started yanking his arm saying we should flip him over and handcuff him. So I’m jerking his arm around, and he’s still kicking, and he’s hard to handle. So I jerk his arm a couple of more times, and then I went to twist his legs around, like a wrestling move.”
St. Pierre and the officer eventually managed to flip the man over and pin him down just as another officer was arriving on scene. “While we had him on his stomach, we got the handcuffs on him, and I said, ‘We need to get leg restraints on him.’” The second officer retrieved the restraints, which St. Pierre himself fastened to the man’s legs.
“I wrapped the leg restraints around his feet and we kind of hog-tied him,” he said. “From the time the delivery guy showed up to the time he was subdued and tied up, it had to be maybe 10 minutes.”
St. Pierre was uninjured in the fight, though Raleigh Police Department Southwest District Commander Capt. Andy Murr said the Raleigh police officer sustained a cut on his lip, swelling to his face, and abrasions to his lower legs. His injuries were relatively minor, however, and he returned to work immediately.
Meanwhile, the man, later identified as 50-year-old A. Puih, may be facing some serious charges.
“Warrants were obtained for Mr. Puih, charging him with assault with a deadly weapon, a misdemeanor; assault on a law enforcement officer causing injury, a felony; and resist, delay, or obstruction of a law enforcement officer, a misdemeanor,” Murr said. “These warrants have not been served pending the conclusion of Mr. Puih’s evaluation and treatment.”
A Good Samaritan
Due to St. Pierre’s quick actions, many in the Raleigh community are thanking him and calling the 29-year-old North Carolina native a hero. “The actions of Mr. St. Pierre were courageous,” Murr said. “His willingness to assist the officer resulted in the suspect being taken into custody without further serious injury to anyone involved.”
Dave Dombrowski, St. Pierre’s manager at ARS/Rescue Rooter, also lauded St. Pierre’s actions as nothing short of heroic. “He’s young, he’s strong, he saw something unfair happening, and he didn’t hesitate to help,” Dombrowski said. “I’m very proud of him.”
Dombrowski added that St. Pierre, who is also a lay preacher at a few area churches, is “very much an extremely moral person, and he would do whatever it takes to help someone.”
In hindsight, St. Pierre said all he was trying to do was prevent a bad situation from getting worse, and after it was all over and the man was safely in custody, he simply went back to work.
“When it was all said and done, I didn’t even hang around and didn’t really think about what had happened,” he said. “Then, 15 or 16 officers showed up, and I thought, what in the world is going on? That’s when I realized, what if he had gotten the officer’s gun?”
Luckily, that didn’t happen, and it is thanks — at least in part — to St. Pierre. “I don’t know what was going on with him, but he obviously had an issue,” he said. “I’m just really glad nobody was seriously hurt.”
Publication date: 9/2/2013