Citizens honored for thwarting robbery

Police are honoring seven people this evening who went out of their way to help a music student fight off a would-be robber.

According to police Sgt. Neville Gittens, the robber approached the 21-year-old student on the morning of Nov. 19. The student was on his way to class, carrying three shoulder bags with a laptop when he stopped to tie his shoe at the corner of Fell and Gough streets.

During that time, Jarmell Boyland, a parolee with a history of committing robbery, had been watching the victim, according to Gittens. When the student stopped, Boyland grabbed his laptop bag, but the victim refused to give up his computer.

When the robber began to pummel the young man, police said, people on the bustling corner began to notice.

“Cars were driving by honking their horns,” Gittenssaid. “Then some citizens came to his aid, and without knowing if the guy was armed or anything, they knocked the suspect to the ground and held him there until police came.”

Amy De Salvatore was in her nearby condo when she heard wailing — screaming like someone was in pain.

“At first, I thought it was a homeless person, but it kept going on and I went out to check,” she said.

She found three businessmen holding down Boyland and the victim nearby with blood running down his face. De Salvatore ran back to her place and grabbed hydrogen peroxide and gauze to help the shaken yet grateful victim, who she said was much smaller than Boyland.

“It was so bizarre,” she said “It’s such a busy corner. The kid must have surprised him by fighting back and making so much noise.”

Tonight, police Chief Heather Fong and the police commission are honoring De Salvatore, James Slater, Michael Degen, Steven Ice, Robert Crockett, Victor Dunn and Robert Simons with a citizen’s commendation award.

Police Commission secretary Sgt. Joe Reilly has seen several citizens honored over the years for risking their lives for others.

“In all my years as a cop, I’ve never seen such a great response,” he said.

bbegin@examiner.com

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