Authorities say 35-year-old Andre Henderson approached 60-year-old Plainfield Police Officer Israel Valentin and punched the 32-year veteran in the head on Sunday. Police say Henderson repeatedly stomped on the officer after he fell to the ground.
"Had this one fellow with the bat not come to the officer's aid, this could have resulted in death," said Captain Edward Santiago, Plainfield Police Department.
Police say the 35 year old Henderson was agitated for unknown reasons. Officer Valentin parked his patrol car on Watchung Avenue, to cross and mail a letter. As he was standing by his car, Henderson approached.
"The perpetrator, according to witnesses, sucker punched the officer," Santiago said, "The officer went down and he began stomping and kicking him."
That's when the first Good Samaritan came driving by, got out of his car, and approached the suspect with a baseball bat.
"He started hitting him in the back with the bat, about five times," Santiago said.
As the first Good Samaritan distracted Henderson, police say, a second man came to help.
"Another Good Samaritan grabbed the radio and put a call out that there was an officer down," Santiago said.
A third Good Samaritan came by and positioned her car in such a way that the officer would not be struck by another car on busy Watchung Avenue.
Henderson is charged with attempted murder.
The officer is recovering from broken ribs, upper body trauma and a head injury. And Plainfield police are thanking the Good Samaritans for the courage they displayed.
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