Turlock Now: Park hero gets recognized by the city

08/19/2013 7:59 PM

09/19/2013 1:40 PM

A Turlock man is being called a hero for stopping the attempted murder of a woman in Donnelly Park last month.

Alfredo Perez received a Certificate of Recognition for Life Saving Effort at the City Council meeting last Tuesday. Police Chief Rob Jackson commended Perez for intervening during a July 29 attack in the park and holding the suspect until authorities arrived.

Jackson said Perez was riding his bike near the park about 5:45 p.m. when he heard a woman screaming for help. When he arrived, he found a woman on the ground with a severe cut to her throat and a man kneeling over her with a knife.

Perez kicked the man, 52-year-old Daniel Lee Rigney, away from the woman, causing him to drop his knife, Jackson said. The victim crawled away while Perez threw the knife out of Rigney's reach and tackled him before he could get to his nearby vehicle.

Perez was unable to attend the ceremony during the meeting because he was at work. Jackson praised his quick thinking and bravery and credited him with saving the woman's life.

"Not a lot of people would do what Mr. Perez did that night, and we're thankful for it," Jackson said.

"Mr. Perez went above and beyond what most would do to make our community a safer place. I have no doubt had Mr. Perez not taken the action that he did that night, that young lady would have been murdered."

Jackson said Perez has been humble about his acts. The chief said that when asked why he took action, Perez replied, "Why wouldn't I?"

Rigney pleaded no contest on Aug. 8 to attempted murder and making criminal threats. Authorities said Rigney and his ex-girlfriend agreed to meet at Donnelly Park to return each other's belongings after their relationship ended.

He was sentenced to eight years and eight months in prison.

Bee staff writer Marijke Rowland can be reached at mrowland@modbee.com or (209) 578-2284. Follow her on www.twitter.com/turlocknow.

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