DA honors courageous citizens

LOS ANGELES - District Attorney Steve Cooley recognized three Lancaster residents last Friday for assisting a Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputy who was attacked when she tried to question a suspect.Mario Barrera, 48; Tyson Ray Beers, 40; and Gale Smith, 63, received Courageous Citizen Awards. The honorees aided the deputy who was attacked on Jan. 31 after she approached an assault and attempted carjacking suspect who was walking along a busy Lancaster street. The defendant tried to get the deputy's gun and push her in front of an oncoming school bus, authorities said. Smith was the first to help the deputy, grabbing the defendant in a headlock and trying to remove his hands from the deputy's weapon. Barrera and Beers saw the struggle, stopped their vehicles and assisted in bringing the defendant to the ground. Barrera grabbed the defendant's right arm and pried his fingers from the deputy's weapon. The honorees held the defendant until additional deputies took him into custody. The suspect's case is pending. Cooley also recognized Daniel Perugini, 61, of Tujunga, and Daniel Plascencia, 66, of Sylmar, at the Courageous Citizen Awards luncheon sponsored by the Rotary Club of Los Angeles. Perugini subdued a disgruntled workers' compensation claimant who stabbed a lawyer in a downtown courtroom on May 20, 2010. While many people in the building ran away, Perugini rushed to the courtroom and held the defendant down with a chair. The defendant was convicted of premeditated attempted murder and sentenced to 11 years to life in state prison. Plascencia came to the aid of a neighbor who was attacked by one of three men who were burglarizing her home on June 10, 2011. Plascencia broke his arm while stopping the attack. Each defendant was convicted of residential burglary and grand theft and sentenced to state prison. The District Attorney's Office presents Courageous Citizen Awards several times a year to residents who have performed extraordinary acts of valor and selflessness in aiding victims, preventing crime, capturing suspects and assisting in criminal prosecutions.

********** Published: April 19, 2012 - Volume 11 - Issue 01