A good Samaritan with a concealed firearm stopped and helped a Utah police officer who was being beaten in the street. It all started Friday when the officer saw a man pulling clothing out of a donation bin and asked him to get out. From Fox 13:

Just before 2 p.m., an officer spotted a pair of feet dangling from a Tabitha’s Way donation bin along Main Street in Springville. He pulled over and asked the person to get out of the bin.

That person was Paul Douglas Anderson. Anderson eventually got out of the bin, leaving clothes and shoes on the ground, but he kept his hands in his pockets.

Springville Police said that officer asked Anderson multiple times to remove his hands from his pockets, for fear he had a weapon. When Anderson finally removed his hands, he used them to punch the officer in the face.

Derek Meyer happened to be driving by at that moment and saw the lone officer under attack. He made a quick U-turn, got out of his car and pulled his concealed weapon:

He told Fox 13 he got out of his car, drew his weapon and pointed it at Anderson, yelling at him to get off the officer and stop assaulting him.

Meyer said when Anderson saw the gun, he stopped and ran off. Immediately, other officers responded to the scene and Meyer put his weapon away.

Anderson’s escape lasted about 30 minutes. Officers found him hiding under a flatbed trailer and he was arrested. He has a long record including several stints in jail. The officer had a fractured eye-socket and some cuts and bruises from the encounter.

Local police say, if not for Meyer’s intervention, the incident could have ended very differently. “Had he not been in the right place at the right time, who knows what would have happened,” Corporal Cory Waters told Fox 13. He added, “He definitely stopped the attack from continuing and becoming much worse. He might have even saved either one of their lives. It could have gone really bad, even for the suspect.”

If Meyer hadn’t stopped, the officer may have decided the only way to make sure he wasn’t overpowered and perhaps killed with his own weapon was to shoot the suspect. Then this would have become a story about another police officer shooting an unarmed man. In this case, Meyer definitely saved the officer from a beating but he may well have saved the suspect’s life.

Meyer told Fox 13, “I carry a gun to protect me and those around me, but primarily I carry a gun to protect my family first and foremost,” he said. Here’s an interview with Derek Meyer who says he is really not afraid of anything, except maybe needles and cameras.

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