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Video: Citizens rush to aid Calif. cop as suspect grabs his gun

Three people heard the officer yell for help and immediately ran to tackle the suspect

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Modesto (Calif.) Police Department

This article has been updated with additional information

By Erin Tracy
The Modesto Bee

MODESTO, Calif. — Three citizens sprang into action Tuesday afternoon when a Modesto Police officer called for help as he struggled with a suspect who was trying to pull his gun from his holster.

The incident occurred around 3:15 p.m. in the parking lot of Star Food & Liquor at 1525 Yosemite Blvd, said Modesto Police spokeswoman Sharon Bear.

The officer had been called there for a report of a suspicious person trying to get into a parked vehicle. During his first response to the scene, the officer could not locate the suspect but was dispatched back there about 15 minutes later when the suspect returned.

Bear said the officer made contact with the suspect and attempted to pat him down because of the loose clothing he was wearing.

“The suspect resisted and it turned into the suspect and officer on the ground rolling around with the suspect trying to get the officer’s Taser and then the officer’s gun,” she said.

Bear said the suspect had managed to pull the officer’s gun partially out of its holster. The suspect got through three safety mechanisms in the holster but the officer had a hold on the suspect’s hand and was preventing him from removing the gun entirely.

The officer yelled for help and indicated that the suspect was trying to get his gun.

Two men and a woman ran to the officer’s aid. They pried the suspect’s hand away from his gun and separated him from the officer. Bear said the suspect didn’t put up much of a fight after that and was put in handcuffs.

During the altercation, which lasted about a minute, the officer suffered scrapes and bruises.

The suspect, identified as Daniel Steffens, 31 of Waterford, sustained lacerations to his forehead and the back of his head, as well as bruises, Bear said.

Both the officer and the suspect were treated at a local hospital for the minor injuries.

Steffens was booked into the Stanislaus County Jail on suspicion of attempted murder, taking a firearm from a police officer and resisting arrest.

(c)2021 The Modesto Bee (Modesto, Calif.)