SAN DIEGO - A man who was stabbed while saving the life of a San Diego police officer is now facing mounting medical bills.
Robert Haley was recently honored during a Salute to Local Heroes in San Diego. He was hailed for "an incredible act of courage" when he came to the aid of a San Diego police officer being attacked in front of his City Heights home in August 2011.
"I just jumped in and said, 'You're not going to hit her anymore," Haley said.
But it was not over, since the man had a knife.
"He just stabbed me. I let go," Haley said. "He went like that and got the cop in the face."
Moments later, other officers arrived and arrested the assailant, Marcus Gonzalez, who was later sent to prison.
Haley had the small puncture wound but required hospital treatment and repeated visits for blood tests, plus medication. He said he still owes $24,000 and he is bitter about it.
"I just got pushed aside," he said. "I have to say that, I believe that."
The District Attorney's Office may be able to help by making a claim on his behalf to the state Crime Victim Compensation Board, but Haley is skeptical.
"I'm on disability," he said. "Anyone helps me, they take it from me. Social Security... yeah, it's a trap door. I'm between a rock and a hard place right now."
There is another issue: Haley has flashbacks featuring the wounded officer.
"When I wake up, I see the officer," he said. "I see her eyes, how white they are, how scared she was. I go to sleep, I see her face."