*Warning: Some may find the video above disturbing.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A Good Samaritan stepped up just seconds after the bullets started flying during Thursday’s shooting near Juan Tabo and Mountain. He jumped his wall when he saw an officer down.
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A local construction worker captured video of a neighbor getting Officer Mario Verbeck to safety. This video shows just how much people were willing to risk to help injured officers.
It was a quiet morning in the backyard with his dogs. That’s how Thursday started for Johnny Garcia, but it quickly turned chaotic when two men ran past his northeast Albuquerque home.
“Before I know it, two cops were coming, two policemen saying, ‘police, freeze, on the ground, on the ground,'” recalled Garcia. “Before you know it, no more than two seconds later, the gunshots just started going off.”
He says he heard 10-20 gunshots before things quieted down. All of the chaos happened on the other side of his yard in a grassy alley.
“After the gunshots stopped, I seen [sic] one cop running. He started yelling, ‘I need a tourniquet,'” said Garcia. “I was thinking at that time, where’s the other cop?”
Garcia looked over the wall behind his home and saw Ofc. Mario Verbeck on the ground. After jumping the wall, he used Verbeck’s radio for help before taking matters into his own hands.
“I got him, I picked him up, and I put his back up against the wall. I called out on his walkie-talkie, his radio, ‘officer down.’ I said it a couple times, I told them that he was really hurt, it just seemed like it was taking too long for anybody to come,” said Garcia. “I picked him up off the wall, picked him up, stood him up, gathered up his weapons and all that stuff, and then I carried him to the street where I met two more police officers.”
As Garcia got Verbeck to safety, a nearby construction worker pulled out his phone. He caught the rescue on camera.
“He was walking this way, he had one officer’s arm around his neck and the guy I guess lives down here in one of the houses, was helping walk across this way,” said Bryon Hardy, a construction worker nearby who saw the rescue. “I could see one side, his arm was limp, he was helping him out through him and helped across the street and through here and ambulance came and they picked him up.”
APD says Ofc. Verbeck was shot at the base of his neck by James Ramirez, just above his bulletproof vest, and underwent surgery Thursday at UNM Hospital. Garcia says it was a no-brainer to jump that wall and do what he could to help.
“I couldn’t leave him there,” said Garcia. “He’s an officer of the law and I could not do that. I had to assist him to make sure that he’s okay.”
Garcia also had a message for Verbeck, saying he hopes he pulls through and is thankful for his service to the community. Ofc. Verbeck is still in critical condition. He’s been with APD since 2004.