Guns save lives. That lesson was learned yet again on January 12th on a desolate stretch of I-10 in Arizona. A Good Samaritan who saved a wounded Arizona State Trooper has now come forward at an Arizona DPS news conference. While Thomas Yoxall, 43, doesn’t consider himself a hero, Arizona’s Department of Public Safety thinks otherwise.
They honored him for his courage in saving Trooper Edward Andersson. Mr. Yoxall used his handgun to rescue the injured trooper under attack.
During the news conference, ears perked up when Yoxall revealed his “past” which included a felony theft conviction from 2000. Ordinarily that means a lifetime prohibition on legal gun ownership. Thankfully for the wounded trooper, Mr. Yoxall had his gun rights restored in 2003.
Yoxall offered a rather interesting description of what happened when he came upon an “undocumented immigrant” beating the trooper’s head against the pavement. From Phoenix New-Times:
“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.”
While rendering aid to the trooper, the wounded attacker charged Yoxall and the trooper one more time. Seeing no other option, Yoxall shot the former Mexican federale in the melon, ending the threat.
Not everyone believes in gun rights restoration for convicted felons. In those states that allow for gun rights restoration, the procedures and requirements vary widely. Thankfully for all concerned, Mr. Yoxall navigated that process.
Here’s more from the Phoenix New-Times:
“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.”
He said the incident had a strong impact on him, Andersson, and their families.
Even though he may have saved Andersson’s life, he pointed out, he still took someone else’s life.
“It’s difficult to reconcile,” he said.
He keeps replaying the scene in his mind, he said, and “it hurts.”
Not that he would change a thing.
“Doing the right thing sometimes has a price, and sometimes that price is severe,” he said. “I wouldn’t change it because another man gets to go home to his family. I would not hesitate to respond in exactly the same fashion.”
…Milstead, also at the Wednesday news conference, said he’s very humbled to know Yoxall, “because we’re having this conversation about a hero and not a line-of-duty death.”
Andersson, he said, lost part of a bone in his surgeries and is still recovering.
Yoxall didn’t go into detail about his past, but said his moments of poor judgment nearly 20 years ago “have not dictated my future, nor are they representative of the person I am today.”
Let’s face it, the great majority of The People of the Gun are good guys and gals. Thomas Yoxall, reformed felon and law-abiding gun owner, did what no gun control advocate could ever do to rescue a police officer from certain death or great bodily injury. He pulled his legally owned firearm, interceded to save an innocent life while risking his own, then provided aid to the injured trooper. That makes him our Gun Hero of the Day.