LA MIRADA, Calif. - La Mirada City Council honored three brave men with the Community Spotlight Award for their heroism Tuesday at City Hall. Jose Pineda and Brian Whitney and Paul Landino helped a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputy in need on Aug. 25.
Landino stopped by the Circle K on Leffingwell Road on his way to a family BBQ when he saw the deputy trying to arrest an erratic homeless man.
Also at the right place at the right time, was Pineda, who was instructed to go to the store to get a lighter for his nephew’s birthday cake. Pineda, a security guard at a church rushed over, pushing the combative homeless man to the ground. “I pinned one of his arms and kind of held him down so the deputy could get the handcuffs on him,” recalls Pineda. At this point, the homeless man had his hand gripped on the deputy’s gun.
Circle K Cashier Brian Whitney saw the struggle and ran out of the store.
“I went in there and tore his hand off the gun and straightened out his legs. I believe Jose was the one who held down his legs and then I ripped his hand off the gun,” said Whitney.
At the same time, Landino jumped out of his car to help.
“I removed a magazine that I saw on the ground, just put my knee into his thighs and held his knees to the cement. I just tried to keep him from moving,” Landino said.
The heroes pinned down the homeless man until back-up arrived.
“These three brave men didn’t have to do what they did,” said L.A. County Sheriff’s Norwalk Captain Jim Tatreau at the council meeting. “They not only stepped in, they physically got involved and that’s a big deal for them. It made some family members very nervous for them but they saw a deputy in need and they recognized it to be a serious situation so they summoned the courage and stepped up.”
La Mirada community members applauded as council recognized them for setting aside their own safety to save a deputy in need, that could have otherwise resulted in a devastating outcome.
“It means a lot. We’ve got to help each other,” said Landino holding his award. “This is how my parents raised me, by helping people and doing the right thing. You just have to help people. Either you are part of the problem or you are part of the solution.”
“Hopefully this motivates people to step up and do the right thing whenever they’re needed,” adds Pineda.