According to Fox affiliate KSTU, the incident began when a Springville police officer out on patrol saw a pair of feet dangling out of a donation bin for Tabitha’s Way, a non-profit that provides food and clothing to the needy.
The officer pulled over and ordered the person—later identified as 40-year-old Paul Douglas Anderson—out of the bin. Anderson got out, but when the officer ordered him multiple times to take his hands out of his pockets—thinking he may have a weapon—he initially refused to comply.
Eventually Anderson took his hands out of his pockets, but that’s when he got the drop on the police officer, attacking him and punching him in the face repeatedly.
A Good Samaritan named Derek Meyer happened to be passing by right as Anderson and the police officer were fighting. When he saw what was going on, he made a U-turn and pulled up behind the police car.
Meyer, who has a concealed carry permit, then got out of his vehicle, drew his handgun and ordered Anderson to stop attacking the officer. Anderson immediately fled upon seeing the gun.
“Luckily, it worked out where I didn’t have to fire or discharge my weapon,” Meyer told KSL. “The suspect saw me and my weapon and decided very, very quickly he needed to go and run.”
Police arrived on the scene and immediately put a nearby elementary school on lockdown for around half an hour while they canvassed the area in search of Anderson. He was eventually found hiding under a flatbed trailer and placed in handcuffs. He now faces charges of assaulting a police officer, resisting arrest, theft, burglary and failure to stop at an officer’s command. He has a lengthy rap sheet and is apparently well known to police in the area.
The Springville police officer was treated at an area hospital for a fractured eye socket and facial lacerations. He has since been released and is expected to recover.
Meyer, meanwhile, told KSTU he trains with his gun regularly and has thought about when he would draw his handgun in public.
“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.”
Meyer said he drew his gun “because of who I am. Not to get any extra attention or to have people talk about me or anything I did.” He also added that he’s happy to share his story, because he feels “good stories from responsible, gun-owning people” aren’t highlighted enough in the media.
Cpl. Cory Waters of the Springville Police Department praised Meyer’s actions that day.
“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.”
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