News Releases

November 4, 2015: District Attorney Jackie Lacey Honors Three for Courageous Acts

Ricardo Santiago, Public Information Officer
(213) 257-2000

District Attorney Jackie Lacey today recognized three people who witnessed violence against others and then assisted prosecutors in taking these dangerous felons off the streets.

“Our community grows stronger every time one neighbor lends a hand to help another in distress,” District Attorney Lacey said. “These heroes played an important role in the prosecution of three violent criminals. Los Angeles County is a safer place to live because of them.”

District Attorney Lacey recognized the three honorees this afternoon at a Courageous Citizen Awards luncheon hosted by Rotary Club of Westchester.

The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office presents these awards four times a year to persons who have performed extraordinary acts of valor and selflessness in assisting in criminal prosecutions, aiding victims, preventing crimes or even capturing suspects.

Awards were presented to:

Amy Harder, 38, of Sun Valley. Presented by Deputy District Attorney Michael Blake of the Crimes Against Peace Officers Section

On July 2, 2011, Amy Harder witnessed her boyfriend kill his two roommates and hide their bodies. Within days, the victims’ families filed missing person reports but police had no leads. Ms. Harder feared for her safety yet called police to report the slayings. She led them to the victims’ bodies. The suspect believed that Ms. Harder had notified police and threatened to kill her and her family. Despite the threats, Ms. Harder worked with police to find her ex-boyfriend. When he called her for a ride, Ms. Harder agreed to pick him up and alerted police. As police followed them, the suspect ordered Ms. Harder to evade authorities. Instead, she pulled over, took the keys and ran. The man fled on foot while shooting at officers. Later that day, he was arrested following a shootout with police.

Modesto De Pablo, 39, of Santa Monica. Presented by Richard Doyle, Head Deputy of the Airport Branch Office

A man walked into a Santa Monica grocery store on Aug. 21, 2011, and headed toward his estranged wife, who was working at one of the cash registers. As she scanned grocery items, he put his arms around her neck and pulled her off her feet. He pulled out a knife and started stabbing her. In an attempt to stop the attack, customers and coworkers threw whatever they could at the man. Only Modesto De Pablo, a coworker, chose to physically intervene. Mr. De Pablo jumped on the back of the much larger man. The assailant threw Mr. De Pablo off of his back and then turned around and swung the knife at him, coming about an inch from his face. The defendant then continued stabbing his wife, who died the next day. Mr. De Pablo testified against the defendant, helping prosecutors secure a conviction.

Alejandro Delgadillo Aguirre, 23, of Los Angeles. Presented by Deputy District Attorney Elena Abramson of the Elder Abuse Section

On June 8, 2015, a 70-year-old man was leaving a gas station in the city of Commerce when another man banged on his car. Believing he may have hit the man, the driver stopped to make sure no one was injured. The man then yelled at the elderly victim, forcibly pulled him out of the car and punched him several times. Alejandro Delgadillo Aguirre was outside on a break when he saw the man attacking the victim. He called 911 and then “bear-hugged” the assailant to try to stop the beating. The man bit Mr. Aguirre in the arm until he bled, forcing him to withdraw his grip. The suspect then continued to punch the elderly man. Once again, Mr. Aguirre pulled the attacker from the victim. This time, with the help of several other bystanders, Mr. Aguirre took the man down and held him until sheriff’s deputies arrived.