Clackamas County Sheriff Craig Roberts recently presented three citizens with the Public Service Awards for their acts of bravery in helping a Happy Valley Library employee who was punched about 10 times by a man having a mental health episode.
On Nov. 1, the employee was having trouble with the suspect, a Happy Valley Library patron. The suspect had earlier in the evening accused the library employee of "talking about him behind his back." According to the sheriff's office, there were no grounds for the accusation.
Later that evening, the suspect walked up to the employee and started punching him repeatedly in the neck and head with a closed fist. The library employee fell to the floor, assumed a fetal position and yelled for someone to call 911. The suspect then began threatening other patrons with violence.
Clackamas Fire volunteer Rustam Abbasov, who was in the library at the time, went to help the library employee, and then saw the suspect going after other patrons. Abbasov jumped into action with the help of fellow citizens John Kilhstrum and Paul Fortner. After being pulled off the employee by Kilhstrum and others, the suspect reportedly refused to calm down.
Abbasov, Kilhstrum and Fortner helped restrain the suspect until law enforcement arrived to make the arrest. CCSO said the attack could have been much worse if it weren't for the bravery of the three men who didn't hesitate to protect the library employee and patrons.
On March 4, Abbasov, Kilhstrum and Fortner were recognized by the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office at their annual awards banquet.