Dylan DeBoard was in his Mount Vernon, Ohio, front yard putting his grill together when he saw something alarming.
A few houses down, a police officer was struggling with a suspect on the porch, and from what DeBoard could see:
“The suspect had the upper hand.”
The suspect, who was under the influence of meth, managed to pin down Officer Michael Wheeler and then went for his gun.
He’d also ripped off Wheeler’s shoulder mic, which prevented him from calling for backup. With his back against the porch and the suspect pounding on him, Wheeler felt like he might not make it back home to his wife and children.
But suddenly, the suspect stopped the attack and raised his hands. Standing there to save the day was DeBoard, with his handgun drawn on the criminal.
Wheeler used the moment of distraction to his advantage. He flipped the suspect over and cuffed him.
DeBoard told Independent Journal Review how Wheeler reacted to him being at the right place at the right time.
“After he found out that I have a license to carry, he gave me the most heart-filled thank you that I ever received.”
He revealed how the decision to act was even bigger than just saving Wheeler:
“The more I think about it, right behind me was my home with my son, my fiance, and my mother in it. I did what needed to be done to protect them, so if the suspect would have taken Wheeler’s gun, yes I would have killed him or died trying to protect my family.”
And he explained why he didn’t think twice about pulling his weapon:
“I don’t know why I didn’t think twice, maybe because they are the values that I grew up on. I was taught that when someone is in need and you can help them out, you just do it.”
Yet, even though DeBoard has been credited with saving a life, he thinks Wheeler is the one who deserves the gratitude:
“Officer Wheeler does thank me every time I see him and I truly appreciate it, but I still thank him. He was there in my neighborhood helping my neighbors and my family.”
Later on, the Mount Vernon Police Department gave DeBoard an award to recognize his heroism:
— KnoxPages.com (@KnoxPages) July 26, 2016
DeBoard described the emotional ceremony:
“When I was at the city council meeting his entire family was there and they had nothing but thanks and tears in their eyes.”
He added this piece of advice: “Protect your family, friends, neighbors…we live in a crazy world and the only way to make it better is to help each other and protect one another.”