Tonopah, AZ — Thomas Yoxall, 43, has paid back his debt to society with interest.
Yoxall was driving down the highway when he saw a DPS Trooper being viscously beaten by a man on the side of the road.
He pulled over and grabbed the gun he was legally carrying in his car’s center console and ended the threat to the Trooper’s life.
Officials say that DPS Trooper Edward Andersson was responding to a 4:00 am call of a rollover vehicle crash on a rural stretch of Interstate 10 west of Tonopah, a small town about 50 miles west of Phoenix.
As Andersson approached the scene of the crash, he saw a man leaning over an injured woman lying in the grass near the rolled vehicle.
When the Trooper approached from his car to help them, the man, later identified as an illegal immigrant from Mexico by the name of Leonard Penuelas-Escobar, 37, looked up from the woman and shot Trooper Andersson with a handgun.
He hit the Andersson in the shoulder and then attacked him, wrestling him to the ground. He began to repeatedly slam Andersson’s head in the asphalt.
But God was keeping an eye on Andersson that morning.
Thomas Yoxall, a felon with a 2000 conviction for felony theft was driving by and saw the illegal Mexican attacking the State Trooper on the ground.
Yoxall said, “I noticed the suspect on top of Trooper Andersson, beating him in a savage way,” Yoxall said. “I immediately pulled over. My commands were ignored by the suspect as [Andersson] called out for help. And I alleviated the threat to him.”
Police reports gave more details, saying that Yoxall positioned his body in such a way that Escobar couldn’t continue to beat the cop, and that when he fired two shots at the suspect.
Escobar retreated, and Yoxall tried to attend the Andersson’s wounds.
But Escobar wasn’t done yet. The attacker got up and charged at Yoxall again.
This time, Yoxall fired one time and hit Escobar in the head, killing him instantly.
Yoxall said, “”My primary concern was the life and wellness of Trooper Andersson, first and foremost,” he said. “There was no choice. I had no opportunity to even think about it rationally. I responded in the only way I know how to respond.”
While he attended to Andersson’s wounds, another Good Samaritan.
Yoxall feels “it’s a right and a privilege to be a private gun owner,” and was happy to have his gun rights restored in 2003 after he completed probation.
It was the gun rights of a man who had paid his debt to society that saved Andersson’s life that morning.
He went on to say that he doesn’t consider himself a hero. “That morning, I never would have dreamt that I was going to save somebody’s life, let alone take the life of another individual,” Yoxall said… “I don’t consider myself a hero that day.”
DPS Troper Andersson lost part of a bone in his surgeries and is still recovering.
The illegal Mexican’s girlfriend died in the crash.
Yoxall may not consider himself a hero, but that’s exactly what he is.