Heating and air mechanic Shane St. Pierre, 29, was on the job in late July at a Raleigh, N.C., apartment complex when he suddenly found himself witnessing a brawl between a Raleigh police officer and a man who had just assaulted several people at the complex with a large rock.
The 10-year ARS/Rescue Rooter employee, who also serves as a lay minister in his free time, immediately jumped in to help the struggling officer subdue and handcuff the man, who was charged with two misdemeanors and a felony for assaulting the officer and others.
The Hero Technician
The incident occurred as St. Pierre was installing HVAC equipment at the apartment complex. “It was probably about 11 a.m. and we were sitting in our truck waiting for a delivery,” St. Pierre said. “The guy that I worked with, he was just saying, something doesn’t feel right — he had a feeling something was going to happen.”
When the delivery driver arrived a few minutes later, he alerted St. Pierre and his partner that there was “a crazy guy throwing rocks” inside the apartment complex.
“About that time, a police officer showed up and asked what was going on,” St. Pierre said. “I told him, ‘I don’t have a clue.’”
St. Pierre, not knowing the severity of the situation, watched the officer run toward the building.
“I saw the police officer approach the subject, and I saw a rock fly,” he said. “At that point they started fighting, and I started running over there kind of slowly. At first, it looked like the officer had it under control, but as I got closer, I realized it was a good tussle.”
Without hesitating, St. Pierre jumped into the middle of the fight. “All I was thinking was, he needs some help. I didn’t really think about if the guy had any weapons,” St. Pierre said. “The officer didn’t have any backup, and he needed help.”
St. Pierre said all he was trying to do was prevent a bad situation from turning into a tragedy.
“When you see someone starting to grab a police officer, you start thinking about a gun, and you just start thinking about how it could escalate to something worse, so I wanted to keep that from happening,” he said. “I was just helping out.”
Just a Good Ol’ Boy
In October, the Raleigh Police Department recognized St. Pierre’s heroic actions and awarded him the Chief’s Citation. At ARS/Rescue Rooter, St. Pierre’s manager, Dave Dombrowski, said he is incredibly proud of St. Pierre’s actions, adding that the tech has a great work ethic and good morals.
“He really put himself in harm’s way,” Dombrowski added. “I don’t know a lot of people who would do that. He’s just a good guy.”
St. Pierre said he has been humbled by the experience, adding he will likely continue on his current career path in HVAC.
“I’ve been here going on 11 years,” he said, though he also is interested in ministering full-time.
“If the doors opened up in that direction, I’d be interested in something like that,” he said.
As for his time in the spotlight, St. Pierre said he is just glad everyone was safe at the end of the day.
“It’s nice to be appreciated for something you do, but I didn’t do any of this expecting to get this kind of attention,” he said. “I didn’t think I’d be on the news, and I didn’t think it’d be what it was. It’s nice to be recognized, but I was just helping someone out.”
Publication date: 12/23/2013