A City Heights man was honored for an “incredible act of courage” when he jumped between a man with a knife and a San Diego police officer.
San Diego police Chief Williams Lansdowne called Robert Haley “a true hero” when he presented him with an award at the 22nd Annual Salute to Local Heroes Thursday.
Haley, 50, was standing in his front yard on a Saturday morning in August 2011 when he saw a man fighting with a San Diego police officer.
Suddenly Haley saw Gonzalez beating and punching Officer Kelly Doherty.
“I just saw a woman being beat up by a guy. I don’t know why I did it but I did. No fear,” he said.
He and three other citizens jumped in to help.
Haley also jumped into the patrol car and told the dispatcher there was an officer down. He didn’t know if the radio was even on when he tried to call for help.
After Haley bear-hugged the suspect, he was stabbed in the arm.
“She got it worse than me though,” he said explaining how the officer was stabbed in her face.
If it wasn’t for the officer’s vest, Haley believes the officer would’ve been killed in the attack.
“Had it not been for his heroic actions, Officer Doherty’s injuries would have been much more severe than they were,” said Lansdowne.
Gonzales was sentenced to 24 years, 8 months for his role in a burglary series as well as the attempted murder of a police officer.
After the incident, as he thought about it, Haley couldn’t believe he intervened.
The married father of two said he wouldn’t have come to the ceremony if it weren’t for his grandchildren.
“They wanted me to give the trophy to them,” he said.
“I don’t think I’m a hero. I think anyone would help a woman out like that,” he said. “Any guy would.”