Petty officer credited with helping catch would-be armed robber

Woman's quick thinking helped police nab suspect

CHULA VISTA, Calif. - Chula Vista police are crediting a petty officer's quick thinking to help nab a would-be armed robber.

Police say 35-year old Salvador Martinez was recently arrested and was out on bail for an unrelated crime when he walked into a Taco Bell in the 600 block of E Street. Investigators say Martinez pulled out a knife, threatening at least two workers before he took off without any money.

Jessica Peek was headed inside the restaurant to meet up with her best friend when she saw her friend in trouble.

"When I walked towards the door, I saw my friend standing on the outside of the counter, and the suspect came from behind the counter ... as I come closer, he comes up from behind her and he had the knife to her back," Peek told 10News. "He looked towards the door and sees me, and I guess my uniform scared him because he just started walking towards the door."

Peek, a naval petty officer, let her instinct and training kick in. She called 911, hopped in her car and started trailing the suspect for a few blocks, describing the changing situation and suspect's description to a dispatcher.

"He took off his hat in the parking lot and put it under a different car, just so he wouldn't be recognized," Peek said. "Had I not followed him, police wouldn't have been able to recognize him because of the description from when he was in Taco Bell."

Peek said Martinez took off his jersey during his getaway and changed into a long, black-sleeved shirt. 

Peek followed him to a nearby trolley, where she led police straight to Martinez.

"He was almost on the train, and a cop pulled up so I tooted my horn, that's him! That's him!" Peek recalled. "That's when officers came out and apprehended him."

Chula Vista police does not recommend doing what Peek did but Peek said she felt she had no other choice.

"It had to be done," Peek told 10News. "I didn't want him to get away and then he comes back to do it again when I'm not there."


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