It was on their way home Wednesday evening that Lilia and her husband Floriberto Pineda came across an unusual scene on Interstate 8 in Mission Valley.
“I saw a car that had crashed so I thought, ‘Oh it’s an accident, I have to be careful because sometimes there are people,'” said Lilia. “So I slowed down even more and then my husband said, ‘Stop, stop.’"
As the couple got closer they saw a CHP officer on the floor next to the center divider, struggling with a man.
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“I tried to slow down and he opened the door and just jumped out of the car,” said Lilia.
"I was thinking the police, they always give their life for us, they give their lives for our daughters and all of us," said Floriberto. "I didn't think twice before helping."
Shocked and confused Lilia pulled over, ran after her husband and started recording on her phone.
Details about the shooting below.
“I saw the officer on the floor and that impacted me because my brother recently applied for the Sheriff’s Department and I thought, ‘That could be my brother,'” said Lilia.
The officer, identified as Antonio Pacheco, a seven-year CHP veteran, was laying on the ground with a gunshot wound to his right thigh. Three other good Samaritans were with him trying to control the bleeding.
“Oh my gosh, just to see him on the floor, bleeding,” said Lilia. “I saw so much blood and I could see his face. He was calm but at the same time I knew he was debating for his life.”
Meanwhile, Floriberto another man armed with a knife had the shooter pinned to the center divider.
“He was out of control,” said Floriberto. “I don't know if he was on drugs or not but he was strong and he was trying to escape.”
But he didn't get a chance to escape. The shooter, identified as 25-year-old UCSD graduate student Yuhao Du, was arrested shortly after. Pacheco was taken to the hospital and had surgery. He's expected to survive.
“The officers are out there every day risking their lives and in seconds it can end just because of what is out there,” said Lilia.
Giving back to those who risk it all, the community jumped in to help save someone who dedicates their life to serving them.