Date published: June 4, 2012
Zach Somerset, a 21 -year-old homeless man. and his friend Shawn Thompson are being hailed as heroes for helping to thwart the rape of a 15-year-old girl in Smyrna, Georgia, at the end of April, reports CBS Atlanta.
"When it comes down to someone else's safety, I am going to put my life on the line to protect someone else," said Somerset.
The girl's attacker, 27-year-old Maurice Jackson, apparently knew the victim and her saviors. In fact. Somerset, Thompson, Jackson, and the victim were walking along Church Road in Smyrna as a group before the attempted crime took place.
Thompson explains. "We decided to go get something to eat and somehow the group got split up and me and Zach ended up in one group and they [the victim and the offender] ended up like a couple hundred feet hehind us."
What followed was a surprise for Somerset and Thompson: "I wouldn't have expected that guy to do that because he was just a normal acting person, but he just spaced out that night," said Somerset. "We heard a scream," Somerset recalls.
Thompson adds, "I'm talking about like a traumatizing scream that I cannot even forget."
"I just kept repeating, 'Keep screaming so I can find you. Keep screaming.'" said Somerset.
Thompson and Somerset ran toward the voice and were shocked to find Jackson astride the 15-year-old.
Thompson described what they saw: "We saw her in the bushes. He had her held down you know, punching her in the face and in the ribs."
"I just grabbed him basically and T was like. 'Dude get off of her' and he wouldn't get off of her," said Somerset.
"I was like. 'You are crazy. This is a friend of mine. I am not going to let you do this man." So I grabbed him around his throat and his stomach and I picked him up and 1 told him, Tm going to kill you dude. You better calm down right quick,'" said Thompson.
The girl used the opportunity to escape, and Somerset and Thompson managed to calm Jackson. They held him in their custody until the police arrived.
Investigators credited the men with preventing an already horrific situation from escalating into something even worse. Though the incident sadly highlights that one cannot always feel secure even amongst acquaintances, it also proves that goodness often prevails over wickedness.