A man is in custody after assaulting a Springville police officer Friday afternoon, and a good Samaritan with a concealed firearm helped end the attack.
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.
Police said he kept punching repeatedly until a passerby stopped to help.
Derek Meyer said he was driving north on Main Street when he spotted the police lights. He said when he looked over he saw Anderson punching the police officer.
Surprised at what he was seeing, Meyer said he made a U-turn and pulled up behind the police car, intending to help.
Meyer has a pistol and concealed-carry permit. He said he trains regularly and has thought before about times in which he would need to use his weapon.
"I carry a gun to protect me and those around me, but primarily I carry a gun to protect my family first and foremost," Meyer said. "Outside of that, if I were to use my gun to protect anyone it would be law enforcement or military personnel."
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.
A nearby elementary school was put on lockdown for about half an hour while police searched for Anderson. They found him hiding under a flatbed trailer and arrested him. He is facing numerous charges. Apparently, he is well-known to Spanish Fork police and has been in and out of jail many times.
Corporal Cory Waters with Springville Police said Meyer's quick, careful action made a huge difference.
"Had he not been in the right place at the right time, who knows what would have happened," Waters said. "But 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."
Meyer said he did it: "because of who I am. Not to get any extra attention or to have people talk about me or anything I did."
He said he thinks anyone would have stopped to help, armed or not. He said he is just glad to share his story because people do not hear enough "good stories from responsible, gun-owning people."
Cpl. Waters cautioned people like Meyer to be careful, however, because in high-stress situations, officers are wary of anyone nearby with a weapon.
The officer suffered a fractured eye socket and lacerations around the eye. He was released from the hospital and is expected to be OK.
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