Nov. 4, 2010
Four honored for heroic deeds
GRANADA HILLS – The Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office today presented awards to four Los Angeles residents for performing heroic deeds.
Courageous Citizen Awards were presented to Mitchell Cohen, 50, of Northridge and the others at a luncheon ceremony hosted by Kiwanis Club of Northridge. The Courageous Citizen Awards honor individuals who have acted at considerable personal risk to help a victim, help capture a suspect and those who have testified in court, knowing that it could put them in peril.
In October 2005, Cohen helped save the life of a person injured in a violent traffic collision caused by a Winnetka man who ran a red light at 60 miles per hour. Immediately following the crash, the assailant jumped out of his wrecked vehicle, carjacked a person and fled the scene.
Cohen, who became an unintended witness as he stood waiting for his child's school bus, aided the injured driver and called 911. The victim, who sustained a punctured aorta and required the removal of his spleen, credits Cohen with saving his life.
Cohen went on to identify the carjacker and testify at trial. Earlier this year, a jury convicted the assailant of carjacking, leaving the scene of a traffic collision and other counts.
In an unrelated incident, Adriana Martinez, 32, of Los Angeles was driving through Skid Row in February 2008 when she saw a man attack another man with a knife. Martinez tried to call 911, but her phone did not work. She asked bystanders to help, but they did nothing. Martinez tried honking her horn to scare the attacker to no avail. Ultimately, Martinez drove away and found other bystanders who called for help. The victim survived.
The attacker was captured by police, convicted of assault with a deadly weapon causing great bodily injury and sentenced to six years in state prison. Martinez provided crucial testimony at the trial.
In January, Courageous Citizen Award recipients Osmar Gonzalez, 21, and Aaron Rivas, 20, both of Los Angeles, captured a purse snatcher who used a Taser to immobilize his victim. Gonzalez and Rivas pursued the assailant for roughly a half-mile. The mugger fought with Rivas until Gonzalez tackled and restrained him.
The defendant ultimately pleaded no contest to assault with a stun gun. He was sentenced to a two-year term in state prison.
Media Relations Division
Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office