Incredible acts of courage recognized during 22nd Annual Salute to Local Heroes

Event sponosred by Rotary Club of San Diego

SAN DIEGO - Five people were honored by law enforcement officials Thursday for performing courageous acts.

San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, County Sheriff William Gore and San Diego Police Chief William Lansdowne recognized the five individuals during the 22nd Annual Salute to Local Heroes Luncheon -- an event sponsored by the Rotary Club of San Diego.
 
2 women recognized for saving children
 
Last May, Jaymisha Pires and her friend Cory Granberry saw a woman screaming just outside of Mount Hope Cemetery.
 
"She was covered up in blood. She had blood all over her," said Pires.
 
Granberry added, "She was yelling and trying to flag people down and people are just passing her up."
 
Pires and Granberry pulled over, walked into the cemetery and saw bottles and candles around a grave. They then noticed the woman's husband, Joseph Ramirez, with his two young daughters and eight-year-old son, and the boy's arm was bleeding badly.
 
"He's hurting his kids; our motherly instincts kicked in," said Pires.
 
Though their own young daughters were in their car, Pires and Granberry said they had to act. They managed to get the two girls to safety, but said Ramirez -- wielding broken glass -- would not release his son, saying they were going to Jesus.
 
Without the advantage of strength, Pires and Granberry used the power of persuasion.
 
"I was standing there talking to him about the boy and trying to get him to give me the boy and that what he was doing wasn't right," explained Pires.
 
"I did it just because it was the thing to do," said Granberry.
 
The women's plan worked, and by the time police arrived, Ramirez had handed over his son.
 
"It was critical and saved lives because they did step up and had they waited to call 911, I don't think we would have gotten there quick enough," said Lansdowne during the ceremony at the Sheraton Harbor Island.
 
Lansdowne nominated Pires and Granberry, but the two heroes said they just did what anyone else would do.
 
"If I was in danger too, I would hope that somebody would stop and help me as well," said Granberry.
 
Pires and Granberry said they often think about how they helped save one boy on the day they were at the cemetery to mourn the loss of another -- Granberry's two-year-old godson.
 
Man who saved officer honored
 
A San Diego police officer who was viciously attacked said she wouldn't be alive today if it weren't for a Good Samaritan.
 
Robert Hailey of City Heights said he remembers that day in August 2011 vividly.
 
Hailey said he was in his yard picking up trash when he saw a man become violent while talking to SDPD Officer Kelly Doherty.
 
"Once I saw the punch, I jumped in. I grabbed him, I bear-hugged him and said, 'You're not going to hit her again.' He pulled out a knife and said, 'Let me go or I'm going to stab you,'" said Hailey.
 
Hailey was stabbed in the arm, while Doherty was stabbed on the chin. Police said Michael Gonzalez, who was on a bike when Doherty pulled him over, attacked both. According to police, Gonzalez was facing an outstanding warrant for burglary.
 
"I have a daughter. The officer was little and my daughter's little and I was like, no. It was just like a reaction," said Hailey.
 
Doherty, badly injured, needed an ambulance. She survived because Hailey ran to her car and called for help using her radio.
 
Despite his injury, Hailey said he would do it again.
 
"To help someone out, yes; I wouldn't think about it," said Hailey.
 
Lansdowne said, "She could not have been more grateful that someone stepped up … police can't be everywhere, but citizens make the difference."
 
One of Hailey's granddaughters was inspired by what he did and now wants to be a police officer
 
"I don't think it's anything special, you know. I think anybody would help anybody out," said Hailey.
 
Doherty has since returned to her job, but she and Hailey have not spoken since the incident.
 
Hailey was the first of three Good Samaritans who witnesses said stepped in that day, but police were unable to track down the other two people.
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