Authorities say good Samaritan with a gun thwarts attack on a police officer in Utah

Authorities say a good Samaritan with a handgun thwarted a savage attack on a police officer in Utah.

The good Samaritan in question is Derek Meyer, who told Salt Lake City Fox-affiliate KSTU-TV that he was driving on Main Street in Springville, which is about 50 miles from Salt Lake City, when he spotted police lights — and a man walloping a police officer.

The incident happened about 2 p.m. on Friday, police said. An officer on patrol saw a pair of feet dangling out of a bin for Tabitha's Way, a local food pantry that hosts a clothing recycling program.

The feet belonged to a man police identified as Paul Douglas Anderson, who climbed out of the bin but refused to take his hands out of his pockets.

When Anderson finally took his hands out of his pocket, he balled them into fists and struck the officer repeatedly, according to police. The attack fractured the officer's eye socket and left him with a scratch near his eye, police said.

That's about the time Meyer saw the scuffle.

"I carry a gun to protect me and those around me, but primarily I carry a gun to protect my family first and foremost," Meyer told KSTU. Police said Meyer had a permit to carry a concealed weapon. "Outside of that, if I were to use my gun to protect anyone it would be law enforcement or military personnel."

He hit a U-turn and got out of his car with his gun. He aimed at the man assaulting the officer and ordered him to stop.

Anderson stopped attacking and sprinted away, police said.

Officers from several nearby agencies were called in to help search for Anderson, and a nearby elementary school was placed on lockdown. After half an hour, officers found the suspect hiding beneath a flatbed trailer.

He was taken to jail and charged with assault on a police officer, resisting arrest, theft, burglary and failure to stop at the command of a police officer. Police have not identified the officer involved, who was treated at a hospital and released.

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