News Releases

August 2, 2017: District Attorney Jackie Lacey Commends Four People for their Courageous Actions

Contact: 
Sarah Ardalani, Public Information Officer
(213) 257-2000

Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey today honored four community members who saved victims of crime in the communities of Long Beach and Gardena.

District Attorney Lacey recognized two men who stopped a hate crime attack on the beach; a man who stopped an unprovoked assault on a boy in a restaurant bathroom; and a woman who came to the aid of a mother viciously beaten by a stranger over a parking space.

“Our honorees had the courage to intervene despite frightening and dangerous circumstances,” District Attorney Lacey said. “They stepped into unknown peril to right a wrong, even if it meant compromising their own safety. Today, we honor and celebrate these heroic individuals.”

District Attorney Lacey recognized the four honorees this afternoon at a Courageous Citizen Awards luncheon hosted by the Long Beach Rotary Club.

The District Attorney’s Office presents Courageous Citizen Awards several times a year to ordinary people who have performed extraordinary acts of selflessness in assisting in criminal prosecutions, aiding victims, preventing crimes, or capturing suspects.

The honorees are:

Michael Collier, 29, of Los Angeles, and Sylvester June Board III, 44, of Long Beach (Case no. NA106335)

Mr. Collier went to Long Beach with a friend and her 17-year-old brother on April 29, 2017. As the trio relaxed on the beach, four teenagers approached the 17-year-old. Mr. Collier overheard the teenagers ask his friend’s brother where he was from and then challenge him to a fight. Mr. Collier intervened and stated that neither he nor the teen belonged to a gang. The four teenagers then stabbed Mr. Collier multiple times as they yelled racial epithets and spit on him. Mr. Board was in the water when he saw

the teenagers surround Mr. Collier. Once the attack began, Mr. Board returned to shore and shouted that he was calling the police. Mr. Board remained with Mr. Collier until authorities arrived and then helped them apprehend the teenager assailants.

The adult defendant pleaded no contest to assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury in June and admitted hate crime and gang allegations. He was sentenced to nine years in prison. The three minors were convicted of assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury and received six months in camp community placement.

The case was investigated by the Long Beach Police Department.

Patrick Connell, 37, of Carlsbad (Case no. NA103694)

A 13-year-old boy was eating at a Long Beach restaurant with his family on March 2, 2016, when he left the table to use the restroom. As the boy washed his hands in the sink, a man suddenly approached him from behind and put him in a chokehold. The assailant then dragged the boy toward a bathroom stall. As Mr. Connell entered the restroom, he saw the attacker pulling the boy, who was gasping for air and extending his arms for help. Immediately, Mr. Connell pushed the assailant to the wall, grabbed the boy and exclaimed, “He’s coming with me!” Mr. Connell returned the boy to his family’s table and told them what occurred. The victim’s family members dashed to the restroom and detained the assailant until police arrived.

The 48-year-old defendant pleaded no contest to child abuse and kidnapping in March. He was sentenced to 22 years in prison.

The case was investigated by the Long Beach Police Department.

Rebecca Madrigal, 48, of Gardena (Case no. YA092508)

On June 1, 2015, a woman was securing her baby in a car seat in a Gardena bank parking lot when she heard a car horn. The woman looked up and spotted a man in his car waiting for the parking space next to her. Seconds later, the man got out of his vehicle, yelled at the woman and then punched her in the head, ribs and back. The assailant continued his attack by kicking the victim as she lay on the ground. Near the scene of the assault, Ms. Madrigal raced to the suspect and yelled, “Hey, what’s your problem?” Without a word, the attacker returned to his car. Ms. Madrigal, realizing the woman was still in harm’s way, quickly dragged the injured woman out of the path of the car as the assailant proceeded to park in the empty space, where the victim had fallen. Police were called and the suspect was taken into custody.

On May 10, 2016, a jury convicted the defendant of assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury and assault with a deadly weapon. The 72-year-old man was sentenced to six years in prison.

The case was investigated by the Gardena Police Department.