Rapid Response: Civilians take down a cop killer (and what it says about Americans)

Cops are rightly filled with anger and sadness about yet another ambush attack on a LEO, but one element to this story can be held up and praised: the actions of ordinary citizens who rushed to his aid


What Happened: On a highway near Bell City, a Louisiana State Trooper stopped a man suspected of drunk driving. The cop was suddenly ambushed — shot in the head at close range with a sawed-off shotgun. A day after he was attacked, Senior Trooper Steven Vincent succumbed to his wounds. He leaves behind a wife and nine-year-old son.

This nation lost a hero. Cops are rightly filled with anger and sadness about yet another ambush attack on an LEO, but one element to this story can be held up and praised: the actions of ordinary citizens who rushed to his aid. 

As Vincent fell to the ground and the assailant stood over him and taunted him, several motorists stopped and rushed to subdue the attacker. They tackled the assailant, disarmed him, and used the wounded cop’s cuffs to secure him. They ran to the patrol vehicle to call on the radio for help. They are living proof that law-abiding citizens will rush into danger to help a cop. 

In this screen grab from KPLC-TV, state police chief Mike Edmonson stands with Robert Ledoux, the good Samaritan who helped capture a man accused of shooting Senior Trooper Steven Vincent. (AP Image)
In this screen grab from KPLC-TV, state police chief Mike Edmonson stands with Robert Ledoux, the good Samaritan who helped capture a man accused of shooting Senior Trooper Steven Vincent. (AP Image)

Why it’s Significant: Bad guys hate the police — this is not news — but it sure as hell is good to see such a stark reminder that they’re outnumbered by good, kind, brave, law-abiding citizens who do not. 

Despite the drumbeat which would have us believe that current anti-cop fervor represents the feeling of a majority of Americans, we are prompted by this incident to recall that there is a significant segment of the population who love and admire their cops. They so support cops that they’d willingly endanger their own lives to help an LEO under attack.

Top Takeaways: We now know the name of at least one of the Good Samaritans — Robert LeDoux — who leaped into action near the intersection of Highway 14 and Fruge Road. LeDoux later said of his actions, “That doesn't make me a hero. That just makes me a good person.”

Well, we know that Robert LeDoux really is a hero, even if he doesn't see it that way. We know also that Robert LeDoux is in good company.

1. Remember Mike Elgas — an ordinary FedEx guy enjoying breakfast at a Jack in the Box restaurant — who took down a suspect and helped save an officer’s life in a March 2014 incident. Elgas later said, “I feel good inside that I did something good.”

Remember this hero.

2. Remember Ray Robinson — a “short and slender Walgreens employee” — who came to the aid of two Chicago police officers beaten and on the verge of getting shot by a 6-foot-3, 250-pound shoplifting suspect. Robinson later said, “I just did what I had to do at that moment.”

Remember this hero. 

3. Remember your training — be advised that your next call could go to hell as quickly as this incident near Bell City, and you have to be ready to respond to protect yourself. But remember too that some anonymous citizen may be standing nearby to help you win and go home at the end of your tour. 

Remember that you do this job for these good and honorable Americans — not the bad guys. 

What’s Next: When they return home to the United States, Anthony Sadler, Spencer Stone, and Alek Skarlatos — newly adorned with medals signifying they are the recipients of Legion of Honor, France’s highest recognition — will probably be on every cable news channel until “the next big thing” seizes the spotlight. They will correctly be praised as heroes. It’s a shame that the motorists in Louisiana will probably not receive the same level of recognition on the 24-7 networks. 

President François Hollande said of the three American heroes on the bullet train, “They gave us an example of what is possible to do in these kinds of situations.” 

The same can be said of a motorist named Robert LeDoux in Louisiana. 

The Louisiana State Police now mourns one of their own, and cops across the country mourn with them. At the appropriate time in the future, the agency — and we, too — should make an effort to pin some medal of valor on his chest.

Further Reading: 
The assault of an Ala. cop, and where we go from here
3 inspiring stories of citizens supporting police

Recommended for you

Join the discussion

Copyright © 2020 policeone.com. All rights reserved.